Wednesday, November 5, 2008

California Proposition 8: What Now?

Go here to see all CA election proposition results.

CNN exit poll Vote by Age
Yes No
18-29 (20%) 39 61
30-44 (28%) 55 45
45-64 (36%) 54 46
65+ (15%) 61 39

This was the vote in my wee little town on Prop 8:

No: 417
Yes: 321

So, about a 3:1 vote against Prop 8.

I wish the margin had been larger here, but I'll take it. Remember, I live in the reddest part of a blue state in fact the most conservative county in the nation.

Here are the sad state results:

08 - Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry

YES:  5,235,486        52.2%
NO: 4,800,656 47.8%
There are few that would not point to the work of the Latter Day Saints (LDS, or Mormon) and Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, and groups of black and Latino church pastors to find the source of success for this proposition. It saddens me greatly that churches have ushered in discrimination while we voted a mixed race man to the presidency. California now has the ugly nose of the theocratic camel under the tent.

So what did cause this, in my opinion?

First, those who are interested in this issue from a political point of view (pro-theocracy nuts, or theocons in the current lexicon), this was an important race to win. When one can apply "Christian" morals to politics and law, one does.

Enter Howard Ahmanson, the Orange County, CA inheritor of the Home Savings and Loan fortune. Both Howard and his wife Roberta have long been involved in extreme right wing dominionist theocratic groups such as the so-called Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) and others. They are as pro-theocracy and right wing as it gets short of dressing in camos and toting an AK-47 while reciting the Lord's Prayer.

"My goal is the total integration of biblical law into our lives."
--Howard Ahmanson to Orange County Register, 1985

Ahmanson wasn't the only right wing theocon or dominionist Bible thumper to give money, however. There are a string of them and many companies and corporations--and others--who and which gave very sizable donations from across the country. Those of you reading this in other states no doubt recognize many of the names. I know I recognize many on the list in my area and elsewhere in California.

Second, the LDS Church, which has been quietly working on this since 1997 with the Roman Catholic Church, threw gobs of money at the proposition. Gobs. And more gobs. By the end of the first week of October, they had raised almost $8.4 of the then $20 million dollars for this proposition which amends the constitution of the state to take away existing rights. This money came from the church not only in California, but around the country.

Then, busloads of LDS members arrived from Utah to help in the calling and ground work.

The LDS Church doesn't really ask you to help. They tell you to help.

Another clergyman, Bishop Frank Stewart of Zoe Christian Fellowship, said he was insulted by the suggestion that gay marriage is a civil rights issue. The real civil rights issues, he said, are the rights of parents (I didn't quite get his point), and his right to choose whom he can join in matrimony as a minister. -- Los Angeles Times, 10/21/08

Add the Knights of Columbus (Roman Catholic) and the Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops. And in a year when we elect our first mixed race president, white, black, Latino fundamentalist and other preachers coalesced (and here) to support Prop 8, including having young black children parade around with flags and Yes on 8 signs. Disgusting is the only word that comes to mind.

They had money and a GREAT ground game at least in numbers.

Unfortunately, the No on 8 campaigns had less of both.

What is most disturbing to me, though, is the rancor and lies that streamed from the Yes on 8 campaign and the absolute failure of Californians to do their homework.

Sadly, most Californians preferred to take the voter sheets handed to them in church, if church goers, or the constant stream of lies as the truth. Did they never once realize that rights are rights are rights?

WHAT does this vote mean? It means that now a state once considered to be a bell weather for progressive policies had rung its pathetic thud in favor of theocracy and unequal protection under the law.

What a horrendous shame.

But it is not the end. More on that later.