Defeat Prop 8

diane.gifProposition 8 on the November ballot would take away the right of same-sex couples to marry. A simple majority (50% + 1 vote) is all that is needed to defeat or pass this dangerous and discriminatory constitutional amendment.

It’s dangerous because it sets a precedent where the rights of one group may be taken away by a majority vote. It is discriminatory because one group of people will be singled out for different treatment under the law. Prop 8 is a human rights disaster.

So, game on: Defeat Proposition 8!

On September 8, awareness of same-sex marriage got a big boost from Ellen DeGeneres when she announced on her TV program, “I had a big, big weekend. I got married to Portia de Rossi! Sorry, John Stamos…this one’s taken. The wedding was everything we hoped it would be. I wish I could’ve invited all of you.” Ellen quipped, “Both John McCain and I chose women as our mates.”

A week later, California’s U.S. Senator Diane Fienstein said, “Proposition 8 is… a matter of equality and fairness. The right to marry is fundamental. It provides social stability, economic equality, and the ability to make decisions for a spouse in a time of crisis. If Proposition 8 were to pass, not only would it eliminate the right to marry for gay and lesbian couples, but it would also create a complicated legal quagmire for those who have exercised this right under the California Constitution, as adjudicated by the Supreme Court of the State.”

Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger, when asked if he supported the passage of Prop 8, said, “No, not at all. I think the Supreme Court made a decision there. It was apparently unconstitutional to stop anyone from getting married. It’s like 1948, the interracial marriage, when the Supreme Court of California has, you know, decided it was unconstitutional and then later on the Supreme Court of the United States followed…So I think to spend any time on this initiative is a waste of time.”

Earlier, The Los Angeles Times had editorialized, “…(Prop 8 ) would be used to rescind an existing constitutional right to marry. We fervently hope that voters, whatever their personal or religious convictions, will shudder at such a step and vote no on Proposition 8….the very act of denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marry — traditionally the highest legal and societal recognition of a loving commitment — by definition relegates them and their relationships to second-class status, separate and not all that equal…It’s a rare and drastic step, invoking the constitutional-amendment process to strip people of rights.”

Meanwhile, California’s six most senior Episcopal bishops declared their opposition saying that preserving the right of gays and lesbians to marry would enhance the “Christian values” of monogamy, love, and commitment. “We believe that continued access to civil marriage for all, regardless of sexual orientation, is consistent with the best principles of our constitutional rights,” said the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, adding, “We do not believe that marriage of heterosexuals is threatened by same-sex marriage.”

In July, Barack Obama wrote, “I am proud to join with and support the LGBT community in an effort to set our nation on a course that recognizes LGBT Americans with full equality under the law. That is why I support extending fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law. And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.”

Money to defeat this constitutional amendment is sorely needed. Dale Kelly Bankhead, Campaign Manager for No On 8 , elaborated, “…the right-wing has now raised $16 million to pass Prop 8. $5 million of this has been raised since September 1! They’ve used this money to buy massive amounts of air time to run ads for Prop 8. You’ve probably heard that the polls show our side ahead. Don’t be fooled! This race is too close to call. The ugly truth we have learned…is that people lie on polls, especially about how they feel about LGBT people.” To learn more, visit: www.NoOnProp8.com

Yes on 8 money is coming from out of state: Connecticut-based Knights of Columbus ($1.275 million), a Catholic organization; the National Organization for Marriage ($921,000), a Mormon group; Mississippi-based American Family Association ($500,000); and Colorado-based Focus on the Family ($414,000). Elsa Prince, the matriarch of a Michigan Republican family, donated $250,000.

carl-matthes.jpgTop contributors to No on 8 are: Equality California ($3.6 million); Washington D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign ($2.3 million); Robert Wilson, a New York philanthropist ($1.2 million); Bruce Bastian, co-founder of WordPerfect ($1 million); PG&E, the California Teachers Association and the California State Council of Service Employees each donated $250,000; Steve Westly, former state controller and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, donated $5,000, and Northeast LA’s own Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance (UGLA) sent $11,000. from it’s Matching Funds Program.

Concluded Senator Feinstein: “The views of Californians on this issue have changed over time, and as a State, I believe we should uphold the ability of our friends, neighbors, and co-workers who are gay and lesbian to enter into the contract of marriage. I urge Californians to oppose Proposition 8.”

Carl Matthes

Carl Matthes is a native of Los Angeles and has lived in Eagle Rock for over 40 years. He is a former president and a current Board member of Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance. He is a former columnist and a current advisor to the Lesbian News, the oldest lesbian publication in America. He was editor of the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) newsletter and a former GLAAD National Board member. He has also been a Board member of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

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