Vote NO on Prop 8!
California may be safely "in the bag" for Obama (it was kind of cool to see how ubiquitous Shepard Fairey's now-iconic images of Barry are in LA), but there is another pivotal vote happening in the Golden State on November 4.
Proposition 8 is a ballot measure that would effectively eliminate the right to marry for same-sex couples. The ballot is titled "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry." The California State Constitution currently guarantees the same freedoms and rights to everyone; Prop 8 seeks to change that. A new line would be added, stating that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." The measure would invalidate all the same-sex marriages (including Ellen's!) that have been legally recognized since the Supreme Court of California ruled on May 15, 2008 that excluding same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional.
The Mormon Church and various organizations within the religious right have been pumping shocking amounts of money into California to fund an intense campaign in support of the proposition. The primary tactic of these "agents of intolerance"? Misinformation, of course. Here is a helpful site to distinguish the truth from some of the lies.
One of the many mistruths being spewed by the religious right and supporters of Prop 8 is that the measure will prevent the corruption of children in schools; that if it isn't passed, schools will need to begin teaching students about—gasp!—same-sex marriage. Well, let's hear from someone who might know something about this...
You often hear fundamentalists/conservatives/bigots bemoaning what they refer to as "legislating from the bench." Let's for once call them out for this hypocrisy. The federal and state constitutions guarantee and protect equal rights. To regressively amend the constitution to exclude a group from certain civil liberties seems to me to contradict the whole "less is more" style of government you always hear conservatives advocating. You can't decry the excessive intrusions of government one second, then try to manipulate and amend constitutions to espouse your intolerant and fear-mongering ideologies the next.
Interestingly, a vote against Prop 8 can be interpreted as both a progressive and a conservative vote. Defeating the measure would preserve the state constitution, limit government's interference with citizens' private and personal lives, and protect the rights of all Americans.
So, you might ask, who is for Prop 8?! According to its supporters, they are simply regular folks who want to "protect the sanctity of marriage." What that means for us pagans: it's the churches. So much for the separation of church and state, huh?
An organization called ProtectMarriage.com originally sponsored the initiative that put the referendum on the ballot, and along with various other religious organizations, they continue to fund the campaign. Donors from the Mormon Church have contributed roughly 40% of the funding in support of Prop 8. Several million dollars have been raised to discriminate against same-sex couples, money that could (were these faithful individuals and organizations truly as compassionate as they claim) go toward helping quite a few truly noble causes.
But not all religious leaders are