Prop 8: Passed dishonestly
Awwwwww…..I thought I was going to be the first person to point out that Prop 8’s victory in California is not a cut-and-dry argument for the idea that the majority of Californias are homophobes. I put those thoughts in this week’s podcast. (Check it out; I thought I would keep the party going a little bit, and I also have an interview with an author on the subject of open marriage.) Now I see that Richard Kim of The Nation came to the same conclusion—the proponents of Prop 8 didn’t get a clean win. First of all, I bet at least 2% of the population thought a yes vote meant a vote for gay marriage. It was very confusing. But also, as Kim says, proponents of the ban lied their heads off about the effects if it didn’t pass.
Ad after ad told voters that without Prop 8, their churches would be forced to perform same-sex unions and be stripped of their tax-exempt status; that schools would teach their children to practice homosexuality; and, perhaps most effective, that a smiling Barack Obama had said, “I’m not in favor of gay marriage.” This last bit went out in a flier by the Yes on 8 campaign, targeting black households.
Obama came out against Prop 8, so those fliers were lying about his stance. I wish Democrats would just come out and support gay marriage, but it’s obvious at this point that the strategy is to lie low and let it work itself out. It’s annoying, but it’s understandable (if not excusable) insofar as conservatives are riding this issue for largely disingenuous reasons—to stoke people’s base fears and confusions and use that to get more power for themselves. In fact, the head of Colorado’s Right to Life basically admitted that was the goal on a similar topic.
“Part of our goal was to overturn Roe v. Wade, but it’s not reasonable to expect an institution to correct its own error,” he said. “Our goal is to increase the social tension over abortion.”
Yep—get people freaking out over what their neighbors are doing with their own genitals behind closed doors, and it just handily distracts from other issues. This is an ugly political fight that will end up being resolved in the courts because the bigots get so much traction out of lying and freaking people out. Why would they give up?