Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Marriage Equality Foes Peddling Lies

The California Majority Report // Marriage Equality Foes Peddling Lies

The AP put out a story today on the efforts of marriage equality foes to pass Proposition 8, which would remove the rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry in California:

"An estimated 15,000 backers of the measure, most of them members of Mormon, Catholic and evangelical Christian churches, knocked on doors and distributed campaign literature to registered voters throughout the state this weekend and last, according to Jennifer Kerns, spokeswoman for the Yes on 8 campaign."

They've also ordered 1 million yard signs and 1 million bumper stickers. Clearly, the fight is on. Unfortunately, they're already playing dirty:

"Bumgarner distributed handouts listing "Six Consequences if Proposition 8 Fails" that volunteers were encouraged to use as talking points. They included warnings that ministers who preach against same-sex marriage could be sued for hate speech, churches would be sued for refusing to host wedding ceremonies for gays, and that "children in schools will be taught that same-sex marriage is OK.""

Liar liar homophobic pants on fire! Churches have the right to refuse to wed any couple for any reason in this country. The California Supreme Court specifically exempted churches from having to participate, in fact. Moreover, the law has absolutely no impact on hate speech statutes, and there's absolutely no requirement for teachers to address marriage at all.

But while we're on the subject, here are six actual, fact-based consequences of marriage equality:

It would provide $684 million to California's wedding and tourism industry over the next three years;
It would create hundreds of jobs for our state;
It would generate $64 million in additional tax revenue for the state and $9 million in marriage-license fees for counties over the next three years;
It would allow churches that favor marriage equality to practice their religion freely, while having no impact on the churches that are opposed;
It would help ensure that all committed gay and lesbian couples in our state will one day have access to the 1,049 tax, health care, and retirement incentives currently only available to married opposite-sex couples; and
It would help through acclimation alter the hostile climate that permeates in our society, providing hope to LGBT youth who are disproportionately prone to suicide due to the intolerance and hatred they regularly experience.
One last parting thought: a person in opposition to marriage equality in this story said that his grandmother would "turn over in her grave" if she knew that gays and lesbians had access to the same marriage rights she did. You know, I suspect my great-grandmother would turn over in her grave if she knew that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were signed into law. Nevertheless, societies are not static; values change; the American dream broadens to incorporate more segments of our diverse society; and if her rotting corpse has a problem with that, I'm content with letting her roll. It's called progress, and if marriage equality foes seem desperate, it's because they know they're in a race against time.

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