Fact vs. Fiction – The truth about Proposition 8


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.

10/23/08: Update

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!


15 Responses to Fact vs. Fiction – The truth about Proposition 8

  1. ZZMike says:

    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.

    Not so.

    Christian photographer must shoot gay wedding rite

    Christian Photographer Fined for Refusing Gay Wedding

    “The commission’s one-page ruling Wednesday said Elane Photography violated the state Human Rights Act by discriminating against Willock on the basis of sexual orientation, and should pay $6,637 for Willock’s attorney’s fees and costs.”

    Note that it was not a court, but a “commission” that levied the fine.

    As you’re wrong about that one, I have to assume you’re wring about others.

    Beside that, no-one’s rights are being abridged or denied. Homosexuals have the same right as everyone else: to marry anyone of the o pposite sex who’ll put up with them.

    Any civil rights, such as inheritance, insurance coverage, hospital visits, &c, can be – can be granted by civil law – and may are.

  2. achievementgap says:

    Hi ZZMike,

    The first link you provided sent me to the Albuquerque Journal. You have to be a paid subscriber to access the article so I chose not to. The second link was to a personal blog which I don’t consider to be a reputable source. I searched Google for another source – unsuccessfully, I only found blogs. Can you provide me with a link to a legitimate news source that confirms these allegations?

    If this, or any case like it, were true I assure you I would defend the photographer’s rights with every bit of the vigor I use to argue against Prop 8. It would be fundamentally wrong. If a photographer, church, printer, organist, florist or anyone else associated with wedding services does not want to take a job, they can (as I understand it) refuse the job. Why wouldn’t they be able to?

    Listen, I’m gay and I want to get married, but there are people I don’t want to associate with. I make videos for special occasions (weddings, vacations, graduation) and I would never make one for an skin-head rally, or anti-abortion group. Do you really think they could sue me for saying no if they tried to hire me to make a video? If they COULD sue me, the issue you’re raising here has nothing to do with gay marriage and everything to do with the right of service people to accept only the jobs they wish to accept.

    And, I’m sorry but you’re wrong about no one’s rights being abridged. I’ve argued this point many times in my blog, as have thousands of other people, so I won’t reargue it here. If you’re interested please see my response to comments on this post. It specifically addresses the free and legal, rights, protections and responsibilities granted to heterosexual couples that are not granted to same-sex couples.

    Thanks for your comments!

  3. achievementgap says:

    In the interest of open discussion, I approved the “comment,” and read the linked blog. It’s clearly a blog that’s on a mission for the converted, since every single (approved) comment was positive.

    But I can’t argue the comment… Thurston and his 6 consequences commentary (although, now, I intend to read it), the LDS commitment to stopping gay marriage, or the LDS opposition to Thurston. Someone else please take it on?

    Note: If you click on the link and go to the rebuttal to Thurston’s comments, the link to Thurston’s comments does not work. I’ll find them and post.

  4. Kaimi says:


    The New Mexico case is real. However, it’s not really related to Prop 8.

    Remember, New Mexico is _not_ a gay marriage state. The suit there was not based on a marriage right; it was based on antidiscrimination laws. The same laws exist in California, and they will not be affected by Prop 8. Discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation is against the law in California, and will remain so. Passing or not passing Prop 8 will not affect the anti-discrimination laws in either California, New Mexico, or other locations.

  5. Robert says:

    I’m afraid this will backfire and cause the general population to be skeptical of LDS, and they won’t see any positive work they do. See this Evangelical website for exampl

  6. achievementgap says:

    While I’m sure LDS does positive work, this campaign is not part of anything positive. People evaluating the issue of banning same-sex marriage should be skeptical of LDS’s committment (of millions of dollars and other resources) to getting Prop 8 passed.

  7. achievementgap says:

    Thanks Kaimi.

  8. Matt says:

    I don’t think it’s a secret that most people who are yes on Prop 8 are “Christians.”

    I dont’ have a problem with anyone who is against it for that reason. I wish they would just say that and I would have more respect for them. If you it think it is morally wrong, against your beleifs, or you are simply against against gays, then just say so.

  9. achievementgap says:

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for commenting. Yes, I think most people who support Prop 8 are Christians. I haven’t heard an argument for Prop 8 that does not revolve around some biblical, religious justification/concern. I can certainly understand your desire that they be more honest about this issue. I feel the same way.

    However, even if they were honest about their motivation, I would still have a problem with it. Substitute the word “Black” or “disabled” or “Jewish” for gay in any argument and it’s a problem.

    So the sentence:

    “I am opposed to gay marriage because I am a Christian” would become

    “I am oppesed to Black marriage (or Jewish, Muslim, disabled persons, Native American, interracial) because I am a Christian.”

    It’s honest, but still not ok. In fact it makes my skin crawl.

    Thanks for your comments, I appreciate them and totally get your point despite my minor disagreement.


  10. Rob says:

    “I am opposed to __________ marriage because I am a Christian”

    Homosexual acts are SPECIFICALLY prohibited in the bible. (Not just Mosaic laws in the Old Testament, either. It is brought up a number of times in both the Old AND New Testament. The bible is quite clear on the subject.)
    Adding anything into the blank space above that is not specifically prohibited in the bible could not be considered Christian. (such as race, physical ability, etc.)
    I appreciate your argument, but I am only obeying God’s commands. Nothing more, nothing less.
    If you do not believe that the bible contains God’s word, then there is nothing to debate, as we will not agree on what is the main issue here.


  11. achievementgap says:

    Hi Rob,

    Thank you for your comments. I appreciate the point you made that if I do not believe the Bible contains God’s word, we have nothing to discuss, but what I believe about the Bible and God’s word is totally irrelevant to the discussion. Here’s why:

    First of all, interpretation of God’s word varies from one religious leader / scholar to another, and changes over time. Up until 1967, the Bible was used to support arguments for laws banning interracial marriage (miscegenation). http://www.answers.com/topic/miscegenation

    Religious scholars have since back-pedaled on that issue and decided the verses formerly used to argue against interracial marriage were actually referring to God’s opposition to inter-faith marriage. Regardless of your understanding of where God and the Bible stand on interracial and interfaith marriages, interracial and interfaith couples are legally permitted to marry.

    Second, Christian religious scholars do not agree, at all, on what the Bible says regarding homosexuality. To say that they do is absolutely false and misleading. Don’t take my word for it. Watch the documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So.” This film presents a whole host of Christian leaders and church members who believe that there is no conflict between Christianity and homosexuality.

    Last, even if God had revealed to Moses in an 11th commandment that Homosexuality is an abomination; it is irrelevant. I feel like I need to remind you and every other Christian who opposes Prop 8 that in the United States of America our constitution mandates that Church and State are separate institutions – and that one shall never interfere in the governance of the other. Religious arguments cannot, legally/constitutionally be considered when making this decision. It is a matter of law, not religion.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your point of view.

  12. Sophie says:

    This is very helpful.
    Thank you for sharing.

  13. Bob says:

    im not against anyone, but marriage was intended as a union between a man & woman. Hold on, hold on…. whay i’m saying is if gay people want it so bad why not invent their own form of bond or ceremony? It’s like say a bunch a soccer players were watching a hockey game and said: “Hey no fair – we want hockey sticks too!”. Too bad, it’s ours.

  14. Diane says:

    For those who voted yes on prop 8:

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