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The New Bigotry II

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I had not intended to write a follow up to Proposition 8: The New Bigotry until I read about the latest hypocrisy in the ongoing debate since the ballot initiative passed. Supporters of Proposition 8, so vocal about voter approval to amend the California State Constitution, now want the same Constitution to overturn another voter-approved initiative — the Political Reform Act of 1974. They seem to believe that they can have it both ways and have asked the court to back them.

Proposition 8 added fourteen words to the Constitution of the State of California: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”  California voters approved it by 52.3% of the November 4 vote. In 2000, California voters approved Proposition 22, which defined “marriage as between a man and a woman,” by 61% of the vote. On May 15 last year, the California State Supreme Court declared that statute unconstitutional and legalized same-sex marriage in California.

The constitutionality of Proposition 8 is before the California Supreme Court.

The amendment's co-author Kenneth Starr represents its supporters in asking the court to uphold the Proposition. By the close of business on January 15, a number of groups filed amicus files and briefscuriae, or “friend of the court,” briefs to ad to Starr’s. Among them, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Family Research Council, and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations filed briefs.

Of its legal filing, San Francisco Archbishop George H. Niederauer wrote that under California Law, “Same sex couples who register as domestic partners will continue to have ‘the same rights, protections and benefits’ as married couples. Proposition 8 simply recognizes that there is a difference between traditional marriage and a same sex partnership.”

California Attorney General Jerry Brown represents the measure’s opponents in asking the court to overturn the Proposition. Joining the opponents, the League of Women Voters of California, the California Council of Churches, and the California Labor Federation have now asked the court to invalidate Proposition 8.

Of its amicus brief the California Council of Churches said, “The brief argues that Proposition 8 poses a severe threat to the guarantee of equal protection for all and was not enacted through the constitutionally required process for such a dramatic change to the California Constitution.”

Even Google has weighed in. On its official company blog, the Internet search company joined other businesses in signing a brief in support of the lawsuits to overturn Proposition 8. “Denying employees basic rights isn't right, and it isn't good for businesses," Google General Counsel Kent Walker wrote. He added, “California's image has suffered since the divisive election.”

Washington Post conservative scribe George Will also weighed in. In a recent column he took to task Jerry Brown’s 111-page argument to invalidate Proposition 8. He wrote, “Passing laws by referenda is an imprudent departure from the core principle of republican government — representation: The people do not decide issues, they decide who shall decide. But the right of Californians to make laws through the direct democracy of referenda is as firmly established as it is promiscuously exercised.” While I usually disagree with what George writes, I agree that the process of referendum is flawed, leaving the courts in an inappropriate policy making position.

You may say, “So far, so good. It’s now in the Court’s hands.” You would be correSupreme Courtct and, in addition to all those briefs, amicus or otherwise, there is an additional law suit to consider. That suit alleges that California’s Political Reform Act is unconstitutional. The Political Reform Act was adopted as a statewide initiative (Proposition 9) by an overwhelming vote of the electorate in 1974.

According to the State of California, “the law's most fundamental purpose [is that] of ensuring that ‘receipts and expenditures in election campaigns should be fully and truthfully disclosed in order that the voters may be fully informed. . . .’” However, supporters of Proposition 8 have filed a lawsuit that seeks to keep the public from seeing the supporters’ campaign finance records, which are required under the post-Watergate law to be posted for 10-years. Claiming that the reports have led to harassment of donors, they have asked the court to declare the law unconstitutional.

The First Amendment Coalition says that the suit probably will not succeed. According to  the Coalition’s executive director, Peter Scheer, "The problem with their argument, of course, is that campaign finance laws, both at the state and federal level, have been litigated endlessly now since Watergate and the argument has, in one form or another, been rejected."

Still, it is amazing what can be done with data today. While the suits are being considered, much has been done with Proposition 8 supporter information. Not only is it a matter of public record, it can be found online on a map. That is pretty darned amazing.

Incidentally, if you have not seen Jack Black in Proposition 8 – the Musical, have a look.

As I wrote in my initial piece, it was “the effort to invalidate 18,000 gay marriages that changed my mind on writing about the issue to expose it as the sheer, unadulterated bigotry it is.” Adding hypocrisy makes it New Bigotry II. The courts will rule as early as March.

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About Tommy Mack

Tommy Mack began his career in broadcasting and is a US Army graduate of the Defense Information School. He worked in Army Public and Command Information and earned a BS in Liberal Studies from the State University of New York, Albany. A marketing communications executive, Tommy became a business management consultant for a major international consulting company and its affiliates before establishing Tommy Mack Organization, a business consulting practice specializing in organization and communications management. A professional writer and blogger, he writes about politics, business, and culture.
  • Great article. I would wish, however, that you’d offer your own personal view on the issue of gay marriage, in addition to what you imply as you try to unravel the legal wrangling. But perhaps the formatting of your piece, not to mention the intent, would have suffered had you done so.
    Another time, maybe.


  • apples_alex

    The reason why prop 8 (and many other voter initiatives) pass is simple: when you rally a bunch of uneducated sheep to the voting booth, you get an uneducated, bigoted result. You know…the types who don’t know anything about the issue (let alone DELIBERATE on it, in the same way judges would) yet vote a particular way because their equally uneducated pastor told them to vote that way…..baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

    When you put the issue before highly educated people–college professors, judges, lawyers, scholars (people with brains who can think logically)–the result is almost always the complete opposite. You see, judges and professors tend to THINK THE ISSUE THROUGH with REASON and LOGIC, rather than go to the voting booth blindly like good little sheep. There are absolutely no logical, legal arguments against gay marriage.

    The typical “yes on 8” voter knows better than to speak out in a college classroom (especially a law school classroom) because their “argument” would be laughed out of any forum where brains exist. I witnessed that at my law school first hand a few years ago. Poor bigot was so passionate about the marriage issue but could not come up with a single, logical, legal argument against gay marriage; everything he said was effectively refuted by both the professor and the majority of the class. Oh, good times…

    In sum: the dumber you are, the more anti-gay you tend to be.

  • That’s the problem, Alex, with vox populi vox dei. Our founding fathers were wary of mob rule; and “liberalism” in its initial formulation (I can’t find the source right now!)was conceived as providing countermeasures to this simplistic proposition.

  • You don’t get any better a result from consulting committees of the educated and intellectual than you get from asking the mob. The results are just biased in a different direction.

    Decisions like this need to be made on the basis of fundamental law — either the constitution, or going above it to the basic rules of natural law. The sad truth is that courts are more likely to adhere to those principles than legislatures or anyone else.


  • At least someone around here can write! Good article. Even though my best friend in my last life was a closet gay man (Lem Billings) in this life I am written off as grossly homophobic..who knew?

    But the truth is closer to why should prop 8 ever have been up for a vote or proposition or whatever in the first place? Blacks hate that they were pulled unwittingly and unwillingly into this debate by the parallel comparisons of blacks and civil rights and gay civil rights.

    Again, one can ask the question why were black civil rights ever needed to be up for a vote or constitutional amendment in the first place? Because bigotry and hatred of “the other” is woven into the warp and woof of humanity. You have to MAKE people, power MUST be taken.

    So, gays better muscle up for the battle ahead. How would I have voted on such a prop: yes, no to gay marriage. I don’t see the need if their legal rights to cohabitation and medical and legal rights are upheld regarding their significant other. That I would vote for.

    Sodomy and miscegenation were against the law a few decades ago, are they right now just because a law has been passed in their favor? Hmmm, at least blacks are now whole people and not 1/5 a human being.


  • To #2 apple: a person can be against laws pro gay and still NOT be averse to gays. Your logic is not legal IMO. Your comments are also bigoted against what you call “dumb people.” The latest dissection of the voters showed that the dumb people who voted for prop 8 were also highly religious…whatever that means.

    Most of them were black, Hispanic, poor and into religion/church. So you are calling black people and poor people dumb I take exception to that and have to speak up for the dumb multitudes whose mob mentality did the right thing and killed gay marriage.


  • Cindy D

    I always thought god like white people better than black people. He seemed also to like men better than women. Now I find he likes black people and women equally, but he doesn’t like homosexuals.

    God is such a fickle creature. He can never seem to make up his mind what he thinks.

  • I thought it was idiots, drunks and children…

  • Brunelleschi

    This thread calls for a question-

    How are matters of rights to be decided then if the “vote” of the majority violates the rights of a minority? How are people to be protected from bigotry?

    Propositions don’t work. Opinion does not define right and wrong.

    We do things all the time for small numbers of people because it’s the right thing to do. I don’t see anyone writing propositions to reverse rules to make new buildings wheelchair accessible. But, someone had to decide that needs to be a rule and did.

    People that want to do unpopular things that don’t really bother anyone else deserve to be protected too. Someone besides the mob has to decide, I agree, but what then?

  • But when the rule was made that all new buildings had to be wheelchair accessible, another groups rights were stepped on. The people paying to build a building are now required to spend the extra money to put in ramps. Whether or not it’s a good business practice or the right thing to do, it’s still gov’t mandated bullshit and someone has to do something and/or pay for something they may not want to. Rules always ending up screwing somebody.

  • Cindy D


    Someone besides the mob has to decide, I agree, but what then?

    So, the mob shouldn’t decide. Did you give up on the wise representative who knows better than the mob? Where does the court fit in, for you?

  • For those keeping score, here is the latest update on the hypocrit court appeal.