About the fact and fiction…
The videos were taken from www.protectmarriage.com the group which introduced Proposition 8 to the ballot, and the site www.preservingmarriage.org, a Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormon Church, Utah) site dedicated to passing Proposition 8 in the State of California.
The Fact and Fiction arguments were taken from www.noonprop8.com/about/fact-vs-fiction and from Morris Thurston’s rebuttal to the document “Six Consequences the Coalition [in Support of Proposition 8] Has Identified if Proposition 8 Fails.”
The Notes are mine.
Fiction: Churches could lose their tax-exemption status.
Fact: Nothing in Prop 8 would force churches to do anything. In fact, the court decision regarding marriage specifically says “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.”
Fiction: A Massachusetts case about a parent’s objection to the school curriculum will happen here.
Fact: Unlike Massachusetts, California gives parents an absolute right to remove their kids and opt-out of teaching on health and family instruction they don’t agree with. The opponents know that California law already covers this and Prop 8 won’t affect it, so they bring up an irrelevant case in Massachusetts.
Fiction: Unless Prop 8 passes, CA parents won’t have the right to object to what their children are taught in school.
Fact: California law clearly gives parents and guardians broad authority to remove their children from any health instruction if it conflicts with their religious beliefs or moral convictions.
Fiction: Teaching children about same-sex marriage will happen here unless we pass Prop 8.
Fact: Not one word in Prop 8 mentions education, and no child can be forced, against the will of their parents, to be taught anything about health and family issues at school. California law prohibits it. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley has already ruled that this claim by Prop 8 proponents is “false and misleading.” The Orange County Register, traditionally one of the most conservative newspapers in the state, says this claim is false. So do lawyers for the California Department of Education.
Note: With regard to education and the passage of Proposition 8, the California Teachers Association is the biggest contributor to the No On Proposition 8 campaign. If the CTA is not concerned about what will happen in public schools if homosexuals are allowed to marry, why should you be? You trust teachers with your children every day, trust them on this.
Fiction: Prop 8 does not discriminate against gays.
Fact: Prop 8 is simple: it eliminates the rights for same-sex couples to marry. Prop 8 would deny equal protections and write discrimination against one group of people—lesbian and gay people—into our state constitution.
Fiction: People can be sued over personal beliefs.
Fact: California’s laws already prohibit discrimination against anyone based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. This has nothing to do with marriage.
Fiction: Pepperdine University supports the Yes on 8 campaign.
Fact:The university has publicly disassociated itself from Professor Richard Peterson of Pepperdine University, who is featured in the ad, and has asked to not be identified in the Yes on 8 advertisements.
Fiction: Four Activist Judges in San Francisco…
Fact: Prop 8 is not about courts and judges, it’s about eliminating a fundamental right. Judges didn’t grant the right, the constitution guarantees the right. Proponents of Prop 8 use an outdated and stale argument that judges aren’t supposed to protect rights and freedoms. This campaign is about whether Californians, right now, in 2008 are willing to amend the constitution for the sole purpose of eliminating a fundamental right for one group of citizens.
Note: Actually I believe “No on Prop 8” groups should be more forthcoming about this issue. A discussion of judicial activism is relevant within the context of this case. Many legal scholars, including some who support gay marriage, believe this was a clear cut case of judges overstepping their bounds. This should concern everyone, even opponents of Prop 8. In this case the judges decided in our favor, the next time we might not be so lucky. Judges are not supposed to use the bench as a pulpit.
To complicate things, there is debate about the issue – reputable people on both sides disagree about whether or not the CA Supreme Court went to far. Additionally, there is a history of judicial activism around the issue of civil rights. A strikingly similar situation existed in the sixties with regard to interracial marriage in the 1960s in which the court approved interracial marriage even though it was opposed by a majority of the population. There are many cases in which the courts act according to a higher law – that the majority of the people cannot and should not impose their will on a minority if that will is discriminatory.
A group of people representing a minority of the population believed that current state law was discriminating against homosexuals in denying them the right to marry. They brought suit against the State of California and won. This is what I chose to focus on. In any case, the bottom line is that you should be concerned about judicial activism, but that does not mean you should vote Yes on 8.
From Morris Thurston’s rebuttal to the “Six Consequences…” document, rebuttal to the “6th Consequence”:
The gratuitous comment concerning “activist judges” seems to be framed as an appeal to fear and paranoia. In fact, today’s justices on both the California supreme court and the United States Supreme Court can hardly be called “activist.” Six of the seven justices of the California Supreme Court were appointed by Republican governors; seven of the nine justices of the United States Supreme Court were appointed by Republican presidents. Most legal scholars would agree that they are moderate to conservative in their leanings and have a healthy respect for constitutional principles. The California Supreme Court has a high reputation throughout the land. A recent study indicates that its decisions are approved of and followed by out-of-state courts far more than are the decisions of any other supreme court in the United States.
Ronald M. George, the chief justice of the California Supreme Court, who wrote the opinion for the majority in the marriage cases, is a judicial moderate who was never considered to be an activist judge. He has an outstanding scholarly background (Princeton and Stanford) and worked as a prosecutor immediately after graduating from law school. He was appointed a Superior Court judge at the early age of 32 by Republican Governor Ronald Reagan. Though young, he quickly gained a reputation as fair-minded, insightful, hard working and tough on crime. He was widely praised for his handling of the difficult trial of the Hillside Strangler, Angelo Buono. He rose in the ranks of judges until he was appointed to the California Supreme Court by Republican Governor Pete Wilson.
As Justice George considered the marriage cases, the decision “weighed heavily” on his mind. He remembered a long ago trip he made with his European immigrant parents through the American South. There, the signs warning “No Negro” or “No colored” left “quite an indelible impression on me,” he recalled. As a judicial conservative, it would have been safest for him to vote against the petitioners and avoid the backlash that he knew would come But, as he put it in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, “I think there are times when doing the right thing means not playing safe.”
The function of judges is to evaluate cases before them and apply constitutional principles to assure that minorities, as well as majorities, receive justice. In controversial cases they are bound to anger some portion of the electorate regardless of how they vote. Their unenviable job is to ignore public opinion and apply the law as they see it. [emphasis mine] Some decisions are so difficult that reasonable minds can differ. The Supreme Court decision in the marriage cases was that sort of decision. Nevertheless, four of the seven justices on what is considered to be a moderate to conservative court agreed on the verdict that was rendered. This decision cannot be written off as merely the whim of “activist judges.”
My conclusion, people who support Prop 8 are not all evil, ignorant or intolerant. Practice tolerance if you wish to be the beneficiary of it. Take the time to understand if you want to be understood. Be patient when you educate, not everyone comes from the same space as you. Was your consciousness raised by getting screamed at and bullied? I don’t think that works as a general rule.
We have 14 days left, and we’re losing. Get our message out there! Support Civil Rights, Vote No on Prop 8!