Sunday, November 02, 2008

And now for some news of decency.

Proposition 8 has brought out the worst of many, many people. And it is easy to focus on the hate, the bigotry, and the absolute fanaticism that is behind the curtain of lies being spread by the Yes on 8 campaign. That is why it is pleasant to report on the exceptions.

Steve Young is a former quarterback for the San Francisco Forty-Niners. He is also a Mormon. Actually his great, great, great grandfather was Brigham Young, who took control of the Mormon church when founder Joseph Smith died. Admittedly Brigham had 57 children by 16 of his 55 wives so being a descendant is not exactly an amazing thing. But any way you look at it he is the the direct descendant of Brigham Young and a graduate of the university named after his ancestor. He was also a speaker at the 2000 Republican National Convention.

Outside Young’s home in Palo Alto is a sign urging people to vote against Proposition 8. And Young’s wife, Barbara, has contributed almost $50,000 to the No on 8 campaign. Barbara, who has a gay brother, said: “We believe all families matter, and we do not believe in discrimination, therefore, our family will vote against Prop 8.” And while Mr. Young has not officially taken any position his wife says: “I am very passionate about this issue and Steve is completely supportive of me and my work for equality.”

Ward Connerly is considered a hero to many conservatives. An African-American, Connerly was a regent of the University of California. Yet he was actively involved in Proposition 209 to ban affirmative action in California state hiring. Connerly argues that his stand against affirmative action was based on the principle of “the right to equal treatment regardless of race, skin color, sex, ethnicity or national origin.”

Connerly says that one issue he had to face when a member of the University board of regents was whether to offer benefits to employees for their same-sex partners. He says that this caused him to “question my belief system, which had not always been supportive of gay rights.” In fact he says that while “I did nothing to openly cause anyone grief, in my private thoughts I was barely tolerant” of gay people. As part of his decision-making process he had to meet with gay staff members and says that what he learned “totally change my perspective.” And, he says, supporting the rights of gay couples goes hand in hand with his core values. “My conservatism is not measured by the extent to which I diminish the individual liberties of others...” He said Proposition 8 is “discriminatory and I abhor discrimination by our government against its taxpaying citizens. That is why I am voting no on Proposition 8.”

Meanwhile, lest you forget the deceptive practices of the fanatics behind Proposition 8 here is their latest tactic. A last minute flyer was mailed out to black voters which took comments of Barack Obama and twisted them so that it appeared he was endorsing Proposition 8. While Obama says he doesn’t support marriage rights for gay couples he also opposes Proposition 8 quite explicitly. So the Yes on 8 campaigners knew they were twisting Obama’s words. That, no doubt, is the reason that they waited till the very last minute in the campaign to send it out -- in the hope that there would be no time to counter their lies.

The Protect Marriage campaign defends their usage saying they didn’t misquote Obama. Technically they didn’t. But they changed the context from one issue to quite another issue. And by moving the quote from its proper context, to another context, they do distort the facts. But then, that is precisely how they have been campaigning from the start so no one should be surprised. Apparently these Christianists believe in God’s moral law except for the part about “bearing false witness” and lying.

I should also report that once again the No on Prop 8 campaign site, where donations can be made, appears to be under attack by the Yes proponents. Already the site has been subjected to a denial-of-service attack which swamped the site with fake requests in order to deny legitimate users access. Once again that appears to be happening right now. If you don't think these people are utterly unscrupulous then think again. One of the sure signs of the fanatic is his willingness to lie, deceive and behave in an underhanded way for his righteous cause.