Three Lawsuits Filed Challenging Proposition 8

Three lawsuits were filed today in California courts seeking to have Proposition 8, banning gay marriage, declared invalid.

The principal argument is that Proposition 8 is a constitutional revision that cannot be accomplished by constitutional amendment.

[One] suit filed with the high court in San Francisco this afternoon argues that the California Constitution´s equal protection provisions do not allow a bare majority of voters to use the amendment process to divest politically disfavored groups of constitutional rights. Such a sweeping redefinition of equal protection would require a constitutional revision rather than a mere amendment, the petition argues. Article XVIII of the California Constitution provides that a constitutional revision may only be accomplished by a constitutional convention and popular ratification, or by legislative submission to the electorate.

That lawuit was filed by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and Santa Clara County Counsel Anne C, on behalf of San Francisco, Santa Clara County and the City of Los Angeles [More..]

A second suit was filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights on behalf of same-sex couples. The third was filed by Gloria Allred on behalf of a lesbian couple.

City Attorney Herrera further explained the grounds:

The issue before the court today is of far greater consequence than marriage equality alone," Herrera said. "Equal protection of the laws is not merely the cornerstone of the California Constitution, it is what separates constitutional democracy from mob rule tyranny. If allowed to stand, Prop 8 so devastates the principle of equal protection that it endangers the fundamental rights of any potential electoral minority— even for protected classes based on race, religion, national origin and gender. The proponents of Prop 8 waged a ruthless campaign of falsehood and fear, funded by millions of dollars from out-of-state interest groups. Make no mistake that their success in California has dramatically raised the stakes. What began as a struggle for marriage equality is today a fight for equality itself.

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    it seems (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by cpinva on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 08:54:42 PM EST
    counterintuitive that an amendment, violative of another part of the constitution, could be legitimate.

    would an amendment, limiting the due process rights, of only those accused of dealing drugs, be legitimate as well?

    if so, then i think it's fair to say that none of the rights embodied in the constitution is safe.

    Precisely (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by scarshapedstar on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 09:08:55 PM EST
    if so, then i think it's fair to say that none of the rights embodied in the constitution is safe.

    That's the message the Dominionists want to send. If they hate you they will make you a second-class citizen, so get right with God.


    Great idea! (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by mexboy on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:30:13 AM EST
    Let's just let the dominant majority decide the people they hate have no rights under the law.

    Who's next?

    Civil rights should never under any circumstances be up to the mob. If that were the case, slavery would still be law...or do you think if the people had voted on it, the slaves would have been freed.

    It is 2008 and gay people are still fighting to be considered complete human beings under the law?

    I say the no on 8 people should introduce a new constitutional amendment. It should make divorce illegal in California, and the tag line should be, protect traditional marriage, make divorce illegal! Let's see how those defenders of "traditional marriage" feel.

    Shame on my state for doing this to this minority.

    minority rights (none / 0) (#35)
    by diogenes on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 07:09:41 AM EST
    The majority has no trouble taking away the rights of competent, legally consenting adults to practice polygamy.  No one here is objecting to such restrictions.  It is time to make arguments based on law and not on inflammatory rhetoric about slavery.

    Laws against polygamy... (none / 0) (#37)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 08:28:28 AM EST
    are equally tyrannical.

    We, as a society and a nation, need to decide once and for all if we want a free country where the individual is sovereign or moral mob rule.  Ya can't half-arse it...either we have liberty and justice for all or we don't.  Be it marriage, drug use, helmet laws...do we want freedom, warts and all, or do we want the tyranny of the majority.

    Personally I think it's a no brainer...


    The State has a reasonable interest in regulating (none / 0) (#48)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:57:30 PM EST
    things like helmet use.  It's not about personal freedoms, it's about whether or not I have to pay for your head injury when you don't wear a helmet.  If you can find a way to allow the freedom to smash your own head against the road without the rest of us paying for someone to spoon feed you the rest of your life (if you live), fine, we'll change the law.  In the meantime, the cost to the rest of us is prohibitive, and that's what's really behind these limits to personal freedom.  

    Personally, I don't care if people use drugs.  But I don't want drug addicts breaking into my home and killing my family.  Clearly the so called "war on drugs" is out of control, but the general concept still stands - society and the State have a vested interest in limiting some personal freedoms in the interest of public safety and stability.  

    Helmet and drug laws are not in the same category as gay marriage.  Neither is polygamy.  Wanting or having multiple sexual partners is not the same thing as two adults who have committed to an exclusive relationship with financial contracts and social agreements that have ramifications for others in their family, specifically their children.

    Gay marriage is not about the freedom to love whomever you want.  It's about the civil rights that protect people who have already taken financial and legal responsibility for others, including their children.  


    Fine... (none / 0) (#53)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:11:21 PM EST
    don't pay for my head injury and let me be free...I can live with that.

    One of my main concerns about socialism (real socialism, not the fake Fear Factor version the right cries about) is the costs you have to pay for all the services and entitlements you get in return.  And their are costs besides taxation...when the govt. pays your health care, how long before tobacco and alcohol are prohibited for 'the public good'?  It scares me...I'd rather die free in a ditch with no health insurance than let the govt. tell me how to live.

    I hear ya, helmet and drug laws aren't all that comparable to gay marriage, but I still say polygamy is.  Why can't three people commit to an exclusive polygamist relationship with financial contracts and social agreements?  I see nothing wrong with it, in fact I think you have to allow it if the government is going to be in the marriage business, or else it is discriminatory.

    Which is why the best thing is to have the government recognize no marriage, make it a personal and/or religous thing.  Besides, it's long time for the screwing of the single taxpayer to end...talk about discriminatory.


    Except (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by squeaky on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:33:10 PM EST
    Gay marriage and polygamy are not analogous, at least at the core. Being gay and is not a choice. Denying rights to gay couples that other couples enjoy is wrong and seems unconstitutional.

    No one is allowed polygamy. So it is not as if red people are allowed to marry multiple partners and blue people are not.


    Exactly. And the polygamy issue (none / 0) (#61)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 10:52:14 AM EST
    is a red herring for the right.  The slippery slope, "what's next polygamy or marriage to a dog?"  It's part of their bag of tricks used to scare people.  

    Tying polygamy to gay rights is toxic and non-productive.  It just slows down acceptance of what otherwise would be regular old boring same-sex families.  And I don't know how many times I've heard otherwise enlightened Democrats bring up that offensive slippery slope argument with the dog.  

    For those of you who want polygamy, go start your own movement and stop dragging down gay rights progress.


    So you're using the inflammatory card on me? (none / 0) (#55)
    by mexboy on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:00:15 PM EST
    So I can't point to history and use a similar situation to illustrate my point because as you call it, it is inflammatory?

    It is time to make arguments based on law and not on inflammatory rhetoric about slavery.

    It is obvious you are saying black people had a legitimate right to civil rights but gay people do not.

    It is also obvious you are trying to shut me, up by saying I'm being inflammatory.

     My point stands, the majority has a tendency to treat those that are different from themselves as subhuman. History is filled with examples, and yes slavery is one of them.

    If you had said, to the slaves, to make arguments based on law, they would have lost.

    The law is to serve mankind, not the other way around.


    OK lawyers (none / 0) (#1)
    by coigue on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 08:07:33 PM EST
    please weigh in

    chop chop

    how are these arguments???

    I am unconvnced (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 08:09:39 PM EST
    Eugene Volokh has a compelling explanation at his blog.

    I found his blog (none / 0) (#3)
    by coigue on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 08:14:11 PM EST
    but not the article. Did he write it today?

    Gawd, how depressing (none / 0) (#7)
    by coigue on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 08:37:16 PM EST
    what he says is that precedential evidence is that this proposition will be found to be an amendment, not a revision. And further, that amendments limiting state constitutional rights (or expanding them)are allowed expressly because:

    One point of the state constitutional amendment process is to make sure that the scope of state constitutional rights is decided by the voters in the state, not just by the seven voters on the state supreme court, especially since those seven voters themselves derive their constitutional authority from a document enacted by a majority vote of the states' voters.

    The author did not support Obama's (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 08:39:41 PM EST
    candidacy.  But, looking ahead, might Pres. Obama nominate to SCOTUS justices who could conclude the equal protection clause extends to same-sex marriage?

    I am 99% he will (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by coigue on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 08:45:23 PM EST
    wrt your SCOTUS comment.

    So the author is a conservative (none / 0) (#9)
    by coigue on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 08:43:34 PM EST
    legal expert?

    Should be some contrasting opinions out there.

    I also have a hard time understanding how this could be a "revision" not an "amendment" so soon after the Ca Supremes declared the right to marry was in the constitution itself.

    The argument is probably along party lines about how much power the amendment process has.

    I would go on, but my battery is out.


    The author is more liberal than Obama on the issue (none / 0) (#31)
    by roy on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:50:12 AM EST
    Presumably in the short term (none / 0) (#32)
    by JoeA on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 05:30:56 AM EST
    Obama's nominees are going to be replacing retiring centrist/centre right members of the Supreme Court who are already going to be more socially liberal. If thats the case I don't see how that will improve the balance of power in the short term.

    Or am I wrong?


    Obama's nuanced response (none / 0) (#34)
    by diogenes on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 07:04:26 AM EST
    During the campaign, Obama was opposed to prop 8 and opposed to gay marriage.  That was campaign dancing around.  Now that he won, who knows what he'll actually do.

    hope you're hopefulness is warranted (none / 0) (#38)
    by sarany on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:25:48 AM EST
    as a lesbian, I am monumentally disillusioned today. I supported Obama, worked for Obama, voted for Obama.  I wrote letters and made calls to swing states.  I ponied up what money I could afford.

    I hope Obama does the right thing and gets behind a real unity effort: uniting everyone, protecting everyone and extending respect, dignity and rights to all.


    oh grammar (none / 0) (#40)
    by sarany on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:28:34 AM EST
    you're should be your

    It's like (none / 0) (#51)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:21:25 PM EST
    being personally against something


    wanting everyone to be personally against something.

    And I think it was a political tactic, since pretty much every serious dem candidate for pres says some variation of the same thing.

    Dang...I was going to stop posting.


    never mind. I found it. (none / 0) (#5)
    by coigue on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 08:21:00 PM EST
    reading it now.

    Here's what I'm convinced of: (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 08:18:24 PM EST
    The initiative, especially when applied to constitutional revision, is a counterproductive form of Democracy.

    There is no way an amendment like this should ever have been allowed in the first place. Shame on the California Supremes for allowing these shenanigans.  

    They'll get another chance. (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 08:35:29 PM EST
    The Cal Supremes have nothing to (none / 0) (#14)
    by Pepe on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 09:59:43 PM EST
    with the process. The process of state ballot initiatives are granted by our constitution.

    ...the general public may propose via the initiative, either amendments to the state constitution or the creation of new statute laws, which is done by writing a proposed constitutional amendment or statute as a petition, and submitting the petition to the California Attorney General along with a submission fee (in 2004 this was $200), and obtaining signatures on petitions from registered voters amounting to 8% (for a constitutional amendment)...

    You may want to familiarize yourself with the process before going off on anyone.

    wiki has a good summary here


    I actually may want to ignore you (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by andgarden on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 10:16:59 PM EST
    In fact, I'm sure I will.

    good idea (5.00 / 0) (#19)
    by coigue on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 10:27:32 PM EST
    No problem (1.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Pepe on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 10:59:51 PM EST
    ignore me, read the link.

    That I could help you keep from misrepresenting things is good enough for me. Glad I could help.


    What about (none / 0) (#36)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 08:21:12 AM EST
    - precedent in CA case law - perhaps the City Attorney has referred to precedent in his argument


    - some 2 - 3 million paper ballots yet to be counted in California that may change the result here?


    one legal question is whether (none / 0) (#15)
    by coigue on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 10:07:33 PM EST
    this change counts as an amendment or a revision.

    You may want to look into the actual legal issues yourself.


    well we all know it was presented as an amendment (none / 0) (#23)
    by Pepe on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 11:06:33 PM EST
    but it is now trying to be presented as a revision. You didn't know that?

    There is a bit more to it than that Pepe (none / 0) (#43)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:44:06 PM EST
    The legal question is: Can an amendment, with it's low hurdle of 50% vote, affect the current constitution in such a way that it negates the basic equal rights found in the non-amendment of the text? Prop 8 clearly does so, since the main text of the Constitution was found by the Supremes to include equal protection of gays and lesbians.

    So can an amendment limit those rights, or is a revision required?

    That's what I meant.  


    And you may want to familiarize yourself (none / 0) (#21)
    by shoephone on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 10:59:28 PM EST
    with the commenter codes of conduct for this blog. You have a talent for breaking them nearly every time you chime in.

    Prop 8 (none / 0) (#13)
    by cybobserver on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 09:50:49 PM EST
    This makes me think of some commercial slogan that says "GET YOUR OWN!" What I mean is rather than all this constant legal haggleing and harangueing of the courts and the expense of getting propositions on the ballot, and so on and so forth though I am sure the lawyers just love the $$$$$. Wouldn't it be a whole lot easier for gay couples to just come up with a different legal term than marriage that would define their own legal promise and ceremony of a gay couple's intent to stay together forever. i.e. The term could be homorriage, which could be ammended to hemorriage if they want to split up - a play on the word hemmorrage of course, meaning a relationship that is dying fast or dead already - as in divorce). I mean they have a different spin on their relationship, why not a new word(s)?
    Just a thought.

    Are you unaware (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Spamlet on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 11:41:31 PM EST
    of the dozens and dozens of federal rights that are extended to heterosexually married couples but not to same-sex couples? Which is just reason why Obama's and others' "leave it to the states" argument sucks so badly.

    My partner and I got married four years ago in Vancouver. If Proposition 8 becomes an actual amendment, our marriage will no longer be honored here, but at least we'll still be married whenever we're in Canada. And that's one reason why we went there. We didn't want to take such a meaningful and emotional step with each other, only to have the ignorant bigoted yahoos among our fellow citizens keep jerking us around by sending the "question" of "gay marriage" to the courts and then to the legislature and then to the amendment process and then to the courts again, ad infinitum.


    separate but equal? (none / 0) (#16)
    by coigue on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 10:08:49 PM EST
    do you think it would actually work?



    Should we do drinking fountains also (none / 0) (#18)
    by DaleA on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 10:22:00 PM EST
    We have Domestic Partnerships in CA which give all the rights of marriage. But the court found this violated the dignity of gay and lesbian citizens. Separate but equal was ruled out.

    California don't give all the rights of marriage. (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by rennies on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:46:34 PM EST
    For example, if I or my partner died, the survivor would have to pay federal death duties, which is not true of heterosexual couples. (We wouldn't have to pay state taxes.) The way around this is to put joint assets (e.g. our house) in a trust.

    Oops! (none / 0) (#46)
    by rennies on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:50:20 PM EST
    Header should read: "California civil unions don't . . ."

    Seriously? (none / 0) (#20)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 10:35:34 PM EST
    Dignity is codified as a sacrosanct right in the CA constitution?

    The myriad of opportunities to exploit that tidbit boggle the mind.


    Look, Sarcastic, it's more than just dignity (none / 0) (#27)
    by MyLeftMind on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 11:53:04 PM EST
    Separate is not equal. I don't want to spend the next 300 years trying to establish equality for each and every right allowed by law and subsequent court decisions in every state in the nation.  This needs to stop now.  Gay citizens are Americans, and as such, they are entitled to equality.  Period.  

    Religious people who have a hangup about gays using the same word they use need to either get a life or get a new word themselves.  How about if Bible distorters use the phrase "traditional religious marriage" for what they do, and we'll let them continue to use the word marriage for the legal contract that states have a public interest in regulating.  


    I think you'd be surprised (none / 0) (#41)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:13:21 PM EST
    how many oppose the redefinition of marriage for reasons that have nothing to do with religion.

    what's your reason? (none / 0) (#44)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:45:18 PM EST
    Common sense. (none / 0) (#47)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:51:55 PM EST
    Common nonsense (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:16:20 PM EST
    Very common.  Very average.  But not right.

    What possible reason could you have for denying the (mostly heterosexual) children of gays the same rights as the children of straight families?  

    Tradition?  Traditional marriage in this country disallowed marriage between different races for much longer than it has allowed it.  Honoring "traditional marriage" was one of the arguments against striking down miscegeny laws.  Our traditions included polygamy.  Now it's disallowed.  Marital law allowed men to basically own women by disallowing women to create and keep their own personal wealth.  Tradition?  Nonsense.

    Protecting the children?  Studies overwhelmingly show that gay and lesbian parents on average do a better job than heterosexual parents, especially because straight teens who get pregnant by mistake can't hold a candle to mature, financially stable adults who proactively and deliberately have and raise families.  

    So what is it Sarcastic?  What's the common sense reason for denying equal rights to gay Americans who have already made a commitment and taken the legal and financial responsibility for their families?


    In those areas you speak of (none / 0) (#52)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:41:03 PM EST
    in which civil unions, or whatever, fall short in "rights" for committed same-sex couples and/or their children, I am all for fixing those areas. You know, common sense.

    I know, I Know, you've tried and tried but haven't succeeded in fixing those areas individually. So try again.

    iow, redefining marriage for everyone is not only far from the only way to solve your specific problems, but is also probably the least efficient.

    But, hey, pick all the fights over this or any issue you like. You're not only creating your opposition but galvanizing them more and more.

    Do you want achieve a goal, or do you want to immerse yourself in waging a self-righteous battle of "wrong v. right?"

    The latter sounds a little evangelical to me...


    Self righteous? (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:32:49 PM EST
    Sorry, but if you're against equality, your simply on the wrong side of this.  Our Constitution & BoR guarantees equal rights.  Period.  It's just a matter of time before we realize it's full potential.  Just as women fought and died for the right to vote, and blacks and enlightened non-blacks fought for racial equality, gay Americans and their allies will continue to fight for gay equal rights, and that includes marital rights.  Common sense is exactly what I'm using - if we don't take the initiative and the opportunity the Obama presidency affords us to eliminate this wedge issue, we'll still be getting kicked by Republicans over it a hundred years from now.  

    Tell you what, why don't you spend the next few generations creating a "separate but equal" civil union structure for gays, and when you've got it all working, completely fair and square, we'll try it out.  Don't forget you're going to have some pretty big challenges at the federal level, especially with the IRS code and how it should be applied to people living in different states.  Now that some states have actually changed their constitutions to eliminate protections for second class citizens, well, you'll have some special challenges there as well.  

    In the meantime, I'm going to support the full equality of all of our citizens, regardless of who they love and pair up with.  And if their relationships and their access to equal protection under the law somehow damages so called "traditional" marriage, well, so be it.  I sure hope gay marriages don't cause more heterosexual divorces, but that's just a risk we're going to have to take.  Because the alternative, doing nothing, is just too un-American for me.


    Yep, (1.00 / 0) (#57)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 03:47:33 PM EST
    the only possible solution is a flat-out, full-bore, frontal assault.

    Ahh, the glory of taking up swords in a righteous battle so cleverly crafted as the apex of good v. evil.

    It must be deliriously intoxicating...


    bad reason for bigotry. (none / 0) (#49)
    by coigue on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:15:18 PM EST
    No, actually, I don't know what you mean. (none / 0) (#25)
    by shoephone on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 11:38:48 PM EST
    According to the comment rules, you are a chatterer. A chatterer is someone who:

    Posts numerous times a day with the intent of dominating, re-directing or hijacking the thread; or
    Posts numerous times a day and insults or engages in name-calling against other commenters or the site's authors or repeatedly makes the same point with the effect of annoying other commenters. (i.e. is a blog-clogger)

    Well if posting (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Pepe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:41:18 AM EST
    numerous times a day and insulting others is against the rules there are those here who have me beat tenfold. At the most I post 6-10 times a day, usually less, and I don't post everyday. There are those here who far surpass that number and are quite antagonistic with other posters.

    As for hijacking I stay on subject just as I did in this thread. In todays Rahm thread I was on subject and also talked about Obama in relation to Rahm which was also on topic. There is no way I dominate a thread because others have way more post in a thread than I do, many being off-topic. I may actually have something to say in my posts where others may not but saying something and providing facts is not against the rules.

    It seems to me you are ignoring other peoples breaking of the rules and trying to single me out for something that don't exist. Your piling on here doesn't intimidate me nor does you rule cop routine. If people attack me first then I will respond in kind. If you don't like that then I suggest you talk to them because when they stop I won't have anything to respond in kind to. If they can't respond to things I post that are backed up by what is being reported in the news and is on topic then they shouldn't respond at all if their sole intention is to stir up trouble.

    In this thread I provided a link to andgarden and suggested he bone up on the California rules for ballot initiatives because what he posted was wrong. It was a helpful post in which I didn't say a damned thing wrong. You can see for yourself how he responded like a smart ass. But you let that go therefore your credibility is nil. Don't lecture me when you choose to have double standards. You are part of the problem not part of the solution.


    pepe, please watch your language (none / 0) (#30)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:02:15 AM EST
    we do not allow profanity here. I just deleted one of your comments for using it. The word "as*" is also not allowed.

    Tone also matters. You are somewhat insulting to other commenters.


    Sorry about (none / 0) (#39)
    by Pepe on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:28:30 AM EST
    using the word as*.

    Passage of Prop 8, (none / 0) (#33)
    by Doc Rock on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 06:27:27 AM EST
    . . . to me is an act of incomprehensible cultural "greed" and intolerance which should shame any truly "religious" person.  In a country where over half of all marriages ende in divorce, this "sanctity of marriage" crap is monumentally hypocritical! How jealous some must be of others' chances for happiness?

    There are many reasons why people vote (none / 0) (#42)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:37:48 PM EST
    for a ballot measure like Prop 8.  "Cultural greed" is a motivating factor, as well as fear and dislike of "others."  But the political drivers for this and other anti-gay legislation attempts are mostly monetary.  Using wedge issues to generate votes and accumulate power and money is a political strategy that has worked very effectively for the GOP and for our country's major religious organizations.  Religions and religious people have killed or cause the death of millions of people throughout history, and benefited both through consolidation of their supporters as well as direct monetary appropriation.  E.g., the Catholic church created a system whereby property belonging to widows they tortured and murdered was transferred to the church.  Nazi's accumulated wealth by stealing from Jews and gays they incarcerated and murdered.  U.S. churches fought racial equality by quoting the Bible and defining God's will, and in the process enhanced their own standing and political power.  

    Today's megachurch anti-gay distortions of the Bible are reflective of what they've always done:  Identify and denigrate "the other" to consolidate their base and increase membership and donations out of fear and/or hatred.  Unfortunately, bigotry works.  Catholic, Mormon and other Christian organizations will continue to use fear to consolidate their base and generate funds.  We give these organizations tax breaks and tell them not to do political work, but clearly they are not abiding by those rules.  Dubya's faith based initiatives have actually increased their ability to organize and communicate with their followers and funders (federal money was used for "capacity building" which includes developing mailing lists, web sites, buying office equipment, etc.).  $73 million was spent on Prop 8, mostly from out of state resources.  Anti-gay political action is a big money maker for these organizations.  They're not going to stop using this wedge issue unless we act to limit their political work.  

    One way to mitigate their negative effect on society is to undermine their ability to drive regressive political change.  We can try to do that by removing the tax breaks for each and every religious group that is behind these despicable ballot measures, but they'll simply create non-church organizations using the same people, equipment and communication paths, but with a separate paper trail.  

    A better way to pull the rug from under the anti-gay bigotry is to (re)establish equality at the federal level.  We need to not just repeal DOMA, but to create an anti-DOMA, If states can't create second class structures for gays, the churches can rant and rave all they want but they won't be able to effect bigoted change.  As I've said many times on this topic, it's up to mainstream Dems to decide they're fed up with this wedge issue increasing the political power of our opponents.  Take a stand now, or expect this issue to still be hurting our party for the next hundred years or so.  If you don't feel a personal attachment for marital equality, perhaps you should consider your future children and grandchildren, some of whom will undoubtedly be homosexual.  (Memo to Jeralyn:  your descendents may have to fight for equality if you don't do it. :)

    Obama and the Yes We Can movement has offered us the once in a lifetime chance to establish progressive policy at the federal level.  Let's not squander it by waiting to see what he and his team think our country should do.  


    Prop 8 Lawsuit Arguements... (none / 0) (#54)
    by Scuzz on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:59:49 PM EST
    The lawsuits that argue the change would require a consitutional convention are flawed. Such arguements have always lost in the past. Prop 13 was attacked in that manner as was one another, which escapes me now. This method of attacking the proposition will fail.