California's Prop 8 would end same-sex marriage

Art sez,

My partner and I were plaintiffs in the lawsuit suing the State of California for the right of same-sex couples to be married. We won that battle but now we have a new one: California Prop 8, if it passes, would change the part of the state constitution that the State Supreme Court upheld in granting us our new marriage rights.

This is the first of many ads aimed at convincing people to get up and vote down Prop 8. It's aimed at young voters, and I'm sure more than a few read BoingBoing religiously, like I do.

I wrote, produced, shot and co-directed this piece, and all the crew donated the time and equipment necessary to make this happen. It just went live on YouTube today. The two stars just graduated from Berkeley High where they were extremely active in gay rights and their school's GSA program.

NoOnProp8dotcom's Channel (Thanks, Art!)


  1. awesumness! sheer awesumness!

    and remember… if you wanna get involved… there are local things you can do.. talking with civic groups… fund raising… putting bumper stickers on cars (your own cars, please!)…

    EQCA has some info on local things @ . is another site.

    if you’re in Santa Cruz (like me) you can even visit .

    and even if you don’t want to marry someone, isn’t it nice to be able to get up in the morning, look deeply into the eyes of your partner and say “hell no i ‘aint gonna marry your lazy ass!!” and have it be a real decision… not one that someone else made for you?

  2. If you want to get involved, arguably the best thing you can do is call voters.

    The Equality For All campaign (you can get to them via has set up phone banks where volunteers meet for 3-4 hours a day, five days a week (Thues-Thurs and Sat-Sun) to call registered voters (they have this info since they are a political campaign, all perfectly legit). At these phone-bank locations (there are several in each major city in California), experienced volunteers provide a script, training, food, etc., and then all volunteers hit the phones for a couple hours.

    About 44% of Californians will almost definitely vote yes on Prop 8, and about 44% of Californians will almost definitely vote no. So it’s a race against the clock to reach those middle 12% and try to swing them our way. That translates to about 100,000 people per major city. That’s a lot of phone calls to make in the next 7 weeks.

    So if you care about same-sex couples keeping their right to marry in CA, the best thing you can do is probably donate three or four hours of your week to calling voters, and/or trying to recruit more volunteers to do so (as I am doing right now). Specific info per city, at

    And even if you’re not gay (I’m not), remember: First they came for … What I mean is, when this is all over in November, you are going to want to be able to say that you did what you could to help fight off this injustice. RIGHT?

    C’mon. Help make (or keep) the world a better place. Rarely do you get such a good chance to influence such an evenly divided issue of basic justice and equaliry, one that affects so many people.


  3. My understanding is that domestic partnerships in California confer all the same legal rights as marriage. The only difference is that the state doesn’t call it a marriage. Was I misinformed? Even if the state recognizes gay marriages, the federal government does not and this Prop 8’s failure (or success) won’t change that.

    The biggest concern for me is that the law that was overturned was an initiative voted into law by the public: it wasn’t enacted by the legislature. And, it passed 61% to 39%. I expect we’ll see a similar result, because that’s what the public expressed they wanted in 2000.

  4. #5: The judges interpreting the constitution don’t particularly care whether the unconstitutional rule was enacted by initiative or legislative action. It was unconstitutional. Which is why Prop 8 is attempting to amend the California constitution. Changing a constitution is kind of a big deal.

    And no, domestic partnerships did not confer “all the same legal rights” as marriage. Some, but not all.

  5. I have given a lot of my money to organizations against Prop 8, and I am going to be really really pissed if it passes.

    ReallyBigC – You are not misinformed about Californian domestic partnerships conferring the same rights as marriage, but you are hopefully wrong about gay marriage in California not changing federal laws about it. The hope is that more and more states will legalize gay marriage, other states will see that the world doesn’t end, and eventually everyone in the country will have equal rights.

    And the public’s opinion has changed since 2000, according to polls. Maybe people have been swayed by the California Supreme Court labeling it a civil rights issue or by Schwarzenegger pointing out how much money it will bring into the state when all the gays are flying out here to get married. Whatever it is, it does look like more people are in favor of gay marriage 8 years later.

  6. And no, domestic partnerships did not confer “all the same legal rights” as marriage. Some, but not all.

    I thought they did in California. Maybe I was misinformed, too?

  7. I found it interesting that the commercial completely avoided bringing up the issues. In fact, it was kind of misleading. I’m not saying I’m for or against prop 8 or gay marriage or whatever, but if I wasn’t familiar with the issue, this commercial didn’t in any way help me understand.

    – Prop 8 stops thousands of couples who love each other from getting married. (Fails to mention who we’re talking about here)

    – Prop 8 takes away rights, when we should be giving people rights. (Fails to mention that those rights were actually only very recently granted).

    I don’t like it. If you think people agree with you, you shouldn’t have to hide what you’re talking about.

  8. Sam, do you live in California? I know that this is an issue I care about a lot and pay a lot of attention to, so I am not a fair example, but I think that it is possible that most any Californian seeing this ad would know exactly what it was talking about. Just a conjecture, though, I have no way of knowing for certain.

  9. Lauren (#10), I don’t live in California and – like Sam – thought the spot somewhat deceptive in not explicitly mentioning gay/lesbian marriage.

    Not to say that the opposition isn’t equally bad:
    One of the safeguards of constitutionally-granted rights trumping legislation is to protect the minority from the majority.

  10. people should be able to marry and live with whomever the like, and the marriages should be compatible with “live and let live” and a bit of pragmatism

    eg. provided there are some priests / rabbis / imams / registry officers who will perform the ceremonies, a particular priest (etc) should be able to opt out of performing the rites at a same sex marriage and not be liable for discrimination charges.

    I think it would be a bit of a farce if it was illegal to refuse to marry same sex couples, that would hand a way to make a big scene to the people who do object.

  11. Shall never understand why gay marriage has such a hard time.

    It in no way impinges on anyone else, you are no less married in a hetro couple due to homo couples getting hitched.

    Also, if you are not given equality due to being gay, isn’t there something in the US about no taxation without representation?

    The govt sure seem to think that gay tax dollars spend like straight ones.

    I was the best man at a gay wedding last year, ah any excuse to get the kilt on.

  12. @13: Shall never understand why gay marriage has such a hard time. It in no way impinges on anyone else, you are no less married in a hetro couple due to homo couples getting hitched.

    It doesn’t matter if it has no bearing on their life/marriage, they don’t want it because they think that by telling homosexuals they can’t get married, they’ll all just turn straight.

    Every argument against gay marriage falls apart when you put a straight couple into the situation, so it’s obvious that people against gay marriage are just hateful people.

  13. I don’t see why it’s deceptive to not mention gay/lesbian in the ad. In fact, I think those are distractions. The core of this issue is that many people believe the government should not legislate the extent to which some people’s love is valid. It’s not a gay rights issue, it’s a human rights issue. Focusing on the gay aspect distracts, and often inflames, passions.

  14. I agree that the ad seemed as though it could be misleading. I am sure many people would understand that they are talking about same sex marriage, but it seemed to be right on the tip of their tongues, yet they forced themselves not to say it. Having a guy and a girl talking about people wanting to marry those that they love just made it seem like they wanted to push the issue back a bit, to me.

  15. #12 – Well the government doesn’t control how religions handle their weddings, thankfully. Priests aren’t compelled to marry people and, really, why would you want to drag some homophobic priest to your wedding to marry you? (Well… actually that has the potential to be funny)

    As for registry officers – it’s their job to handle the legal side of marriage. They just need to approve the paperwork, etc. and be done with it. Otherwise they’re not really doing their job.

  16. Amen Brother Reallybigc. I too hope Proposition 8 passes and marriage is protected from the advances of homosexuality and common law marriages. We must protect the children from being able to have two parents and keep them safe and normal in orphanages, as God intends. My marriage is under attack, the gays would want me to marry them instead of my loving wife (who stays in the kitchen as God intends, another institution under attack by Prop 8).

    Its just like how the activist judges legislated from the bench that Blacks should deserve so-called equal rights as white folk. In a democracy majority rules, and guess what blacks or gays? You’re in the minority. Don’t like not having so-called “rights”? Then succeed or ship out to Spain or Norway.

  17. @sam: Women’s right to vote is only a new thing in the greater scheme of things. No one would get upset if we took that away, right? I mean, they only just got it!

  18. This ad is not misleading. This is about marriage equality, so the ad is 100% correct in saying if Prop 8 is passed, some couples won’t be able to marry. Why does the ad need to point out the sexuality of those couples? They are human beings and they deserve the rights that come with that, which includes loving and marrying whomever you choose. We are talking human rights here, not gay rights.

  19. At 0:38 in the video, Austin says “The law can’t tell us who to love.”

    Perhaps I’m overlooking something, but that seems a little over-the-top as far as interpretations of Proposition 8 go.

  20. thy blw p r brtn clncs. myb w shld blw p thr chrchs…

    (oh, i am not advocating blowing up anything, mr. nsa text-scrubbing-bot. i’m just making a point. please do not track my i.p and kick in my door. thanks!)

  21. #16: Lesbians want to get married, just as much as gay men want to get married. Unless they have a man and a woman holding hands and talking about how much they want to get married to each other, I’m not seeing anything deceptive here.

    I’m with #15 here – it’s a human rights issue. Prop 8 is about stopping some humans from marrying each other, for no good reason.

  22. Queer culture thrives on the fringe. To apply the hetero-sexist conceit of marriage on gay relationships seems like a step backward to me.

    Since when did gay rights just become gay marriage? What does gay marriage do about the rise of AIDS case among young people, Blacks and Latinos or suicides and homelessness among young gays and lesbians?

    Every time I see two usually white upper-middle class males announce their marriage in the NY Times, what am I supposed to feel as a poor gay Latino? (Rhetorical question).

  23. This whole problem became a moot point during the zombie war.

    Many fundamentalists thought the end times were near, and waited for the rapture. Many of them were gun owners, who felt overconfident.

    Well, if the rapture came, we’ll never know.

    What we do know is many zombies shuffling toward the rocky mountain strongholds wore WWJD.

  24. Despite what commenters about seem to believe, making it clear that this is about lesbian and gay marriage is a boon to the cause.

    When Jerry Brown forced a change to the wording to explicitly bring out who was affected (lesbian and gay couples) support for the initiative fell.
    The heading on the ballot summary used to talk about a “Limit on Marriage” but now it says “Eliminates right of same-sex couples to marry.” Most pundits credit this change with the falling support for the initiative.

    The fact that it’s lesbian and gay couples is not a “distraction” to the issue – it IS the issue.

  25. #21 justONEguy

    While I think gay marriage should be legal, I’m with you on a deeper level. I’m in a gay polyamourous relationship. So it’s kinda weird for me to get too excited about marriage being legal since I can’t use any of it without favoring one partner or the other – even though there would be financial benefits for all of us if I were to do so.

  26. justoneguy and markfrei, I see where you’re coming from. I see marriage as kind of a dumb institution anyway. I’m (mostly) straight, but I’m not sure I’ll get legally married, though I’m pretty sure I’ll end up in a long-term monogamous relationship. The point, I think, is to erase discrimination. I think capitalism is kind of a dumb institution, too, but I still think the underrepresentation of women as corporate CEOs is a problem. If you’re queer, and you want to conform to the whole marriage thing, you should have the right to. I believe this even while I criticize the institution of marriage.

  27. #21: justONEguy, it’s not like gay people won’t still be able to do a bunch of kinky fringe stuff if gay marriage is legalized. Nobody is FORCING anybody into legally recognized monogamous partnerships. You may note that there are still plenty of straights that choose unconventional relationships too.

    I can’t imagine how giving everyone the same rights could ever be considered a “step backwards.” That’s kind of like saying we shouldn’t have ended legalized segregation because we got so much cool music out of the deal.

  28. @26 Far be it for me to say how other people should define their relationships.

    My point is that gay marriage has turned into the gay rights issue of the past few years. I realize I’m in the minority here, but what it means to be queer for me is not to apply my relationship into an antiquated hetero institution. So for me, it is a step backward because its more about assimilation than anything else and it takes much-needed attention and resources away from more vital gay issues.

  29. I live in California, I am completely against Prop 8, and I find this ad highly deceptive.

    While it is not as bad as Republican style tactics of calling a policy “Clean Skies Act” that allows corps to pollute more, it is along the same lines.

    If the No On Prop 8 folks don’t want to just preach to the choir, they need to make the relatively few people in the middle confront their own prejudices. This ad is deceptive because it tries to sway people by getting them to overlook their prejudices.

  30. gay marriage has turned into the gay rights issue of the past few years.

    Watching this from across the Atlantic I’d say the reason for that is a result of the continuing backlash from Christian and other religious groups to stop any kind of marriage they disapprove of. When civil unions passed into law in the UK I think there may have been some minor fuss from the usual vocal minorities but that was it. The issue is over. Same with gay people serving in the armed forces. The sky hasn’t fallen, everyone is getting on with their lives. But as long as you have pressure groups like the American Family Association and Americans for Truth (sic) getting apoplexy about other people’s business, these arguments will continue.

    it takes much-needed attention and resources away from more vital gay issues.

    What are the more vital issues? I’m not being confrontational, just curious. I read gay news blogs every day and few issues recur as much as the marriage one or seem as important.

  31. I got a call from a Prop 8 supporter the other night. I knew about it, but I couldn’t remember the polarity of the Prop (yes is for gay marriage? or no is against prohibiting gay marriage?). An amusing conversation ensued where we sort of danced around not understanding one another and I finally just said, “I believe gay people should be able to get married. It doesn’t hurt me or threaten me in any way, and I think it would make them happy.” The woman (who was very nice) sighed a big deep sigh, said thank you very much in the saddest way possible, and hung up. I’d like to think the humble logic of my argument made a dent, but I’m guessing she had been broken by hours of calling progressive Angelenos and getting the same answer.

  32. #29 “What are the more vital issues?”

    Well the pro-marriage movement was in full flight at a time when gay sex was illegal in most states. These laws were overturned by the Supreme Court – and it wasn’t really the result of anything directly done by the mainstream lgbt rights groups.

    Now what are more serious issues right now? Gay bashing is one, but it’s hard to attack. Safer sex education is another – and it’s the one that is the scariest for me. Kids being taught abstinence in schools are in for a tough road – first they are taught just say no, then they come out and all they see in the gay bars are bare backing porn, not realizing this isn’t how it should be done if you want to stay well. Job discrimination is another, including in the military with all the attendant issues there.

  33. @29: What are the more vital issues?

    To name a few:
    HIV/AIDS on the rise particularly among minorities and young people, queer youth that kill themselves at higher rates than their straight friends, hate crime, employment issues and reproductive justice, homelessness and drug addiction.

    I read gay news blogs every day and few issues recur as much as the marriage one or seem as important.

    My point, exactly. This issue has dominated. There is far more to gay identity than monogomous partnerships recognized by the state.

  34. HIV/AIDS is on the rise among hetrosexuals and homosexuals alike, especially in the youth demographic – and minorities aren’t always gay…. I’m not seeing that as a gay rights issue, that’s a general sex education issue that sees no boundaries with regard to sexuality any more.

    That’s probably a step BACKWARDS as far as public health is concerned, unfortunately.

    The abstinance-education-meets-barebacking-porn thing is not unique to the gay community either; ALL youth are being taught nothing about disease prevention. Hetrosexual teens are having anal sex under the deluded impression that it’s “safe because it’s not sex” – which is actually one factor leading into the rise of HIV among hetrosexual youth.

    I’m not sure making either of these a minority group issue of any kind is going to help anyone.

  35. Isn’t it sad that a commercial trying to preserve same-sex marriage can’t dare mention the “same-sex” part.

  36. I do live in California and I did not know what Prop 8 was for (don’t get TV or anything) and I also found the ad to be misleading much like Sam did.

    The state news headlines have been filled with the budget delays/crisis and the economic crisis so this hasn’t received much press time. Also haven’t received my voter information guide for the upcoming election either.

    I found this ad misleading because it doesn’t say WHAT marriage rights are at stake and I’m a little offended to be their supposed target audience. This isn’t a DARE commercial nor is it the 1990s.

    I’m a supporter of same-sex marriage, but this ad irritates me.

  37. @35 ‘m not sure making either of these a minority group issue of any kind is going to help anyone.

    Too late. It already is a “minority group issue”, as you call it:

    -African Americans account for 48% of new HIV infections.
    -AIDS is the leading cause of death for African American women aged 25 to 34 and HIV rates among Hispanic women are increasing.
    -The number of women living with HIV has tripled in the last two decades.

    You can’t tell me that the Black and Latino men who lead double lives and infect their wives and girlfriends wouldn’t have benefited from AIDS prevention education that was tailored to them as gays, minorities or both.

  38. First of all, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU BoingBoing for linking to this spot. It’s really important to me, and to lots of other married people like myself, to get the word out that Prop 8 needs to go down in flames.

    The reason that the spot doesn’t talk about same-sex rights is that same-sex marriage doesn’t resonate with everyone, but losing rights that we already have is something that everyone should be afraid of. So even if you don’t support same-sex marriage you’re probably less supportive of government sticking its nose in where it doesn’t belong and yanking existing rights away from citizens.

    So tell all your friends that even if they, or you, don’t support same-sex marriage, they shouldn’t support government taking away rights once they’ve been granted (or, in this case, won fairly through the court system). Because once that starts then who knows where it will stop, and next time it could be YOU whose rights are curtailed.

    Same sex marriage has been legal in California for several months now and the world hasn’t ended. All that’s happened is that more loving couples than ever are married, and I don’t see how that’s a bad thing. My partner of eight years and I now have the same kind of marriage our parents did, with all the good times and bad times inherent thereto.

    Art Adams
    The guy who made the ad

  39. These issues don’t exist in isolation, many of them overlap. Where health is concerned, being a spouse affects hospital visiting rights, for example, and I’ve read plenty of times about gay people being denied access to critically ill partners by family members (or even the hospital) who disagreed with their “lifestyle”.

  40. I feel that anyone should be allowed to marry whoever they want. its like when you mix applesauce with PB&J. people might think its disgusting, but i simply answer, “you don’t have to eat it, nor do you have to watch me eat it.” it doesn’t affect anyone else when gay people are allowed to marry.

  41. @rt
    Ww fnd y cmmnt vn mr dststfl thn yr d.

    thnk vryn prtty mch ndrstnds wht y r dng nd why y r dng t. Spllng t t fr s, jst mpls w r dts.

  42. “Same-sex” won’t “resonate”.

    Geez, if you can’t say it out loud in California, it must be just about hopeless.

    I’m sure that for most straight men the right to marry another man is about as dear as the right to live without cable television.

    If they could make an ad that suggested your cable television would go away if same-sex marriage were banned (who do you suppose makes all those shows, anyway?) then they might have something.

  43. Well, I liked the ad, anyway. The informational content is just fine, and not just because it’s clearly targeted at voters who already know what Prop 8 is about. The piece doesn’t need to mention gay marriage because the ruling is that sexual orientation doesn’t matter for being able to marry. It doesn’t matter who suffer because of this, because what does matter is that people will suffer. I dare anyone to explain how “thousands of couples who love each other” is not an accurate description.

    It certainly doesn’t need to say anything about when exactly gay marriage was legalized. Half a year or half a century, a right is still a right.

  44. Not stating that Prop 8 is concerning same-sex marriage is a bit misleading, but I see the logic behind that action.

    I do not think same-sex marriage is the most important issue in the LGBT community currently. I think job and housing security (including DADT) and hate crime recognition are much more important. I can get fired and evicted for being gay in my state currently with no legal avenues for compensation. If I was bashed, it would not be legally considered a hate crime.

    Gay marriage is a hot-button issue right now because of all the opposition it is being met with. LGBT political organizations can’t really focus on other issues while some people are trying to amend the state and national constitutions to forbid same-sex marriage. Repealing an amendment after the fact is a lot harder than defeating the vote for the amendment.

  45. Isn’t being able to amend the Constitution by a simple-majority referendum pretty much entirely missing the point of having a Constitution in the first place?

  46. These laws were overturned by the Supreme Court – and it wasn’t really the result of anything directly done by the mainstream lgbt rights groups.

    Um, whaaa? The Supreme Court case you’re talking about, Lawrence v. Texas, was *brought* by Lambda Legal, one of the mainstream LGBT rights groups. Before that, the last couple of state laws that fell before Lawrence were in Arkansas in 2001 (also a Lambda Legal case) and Massachusetts in 2002 (brought by Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, another of the mainstream LGBT rights groups).

    Full disclosure: I work at an LGBT rights organization (not Lambda or GLAD though).

    Marriage was certainly something the mainstream LGBT rights groups were working on before early 2004, but it wasn’t the highest priority at that point. But when New Paltz, San Francisco, and Portland started performing marriages early that year, a huge groundswell started in the gay community, and the opposition also rose up in a way that needed to be addressed. Marriage equality became a high priority for the LGBT rights groups largely because so many people wanted to be able to be married, and I think seeing it actually start to happen — even if it didn’t last in those cities — made that sentiment take off like never before.

    Those of us who work on these issues for a living haven’t at all abandoned other issues like employment discrimination, youth rights, etc., but if we didn’t work on marriage we’d be ignoring a huge segment of our community who desperately need and want the legal protections and emotional commitment of marriage. We’d also be rolling over for the anti-gay forces who continue to use this as a tool in their culture wars. You’re entitled to your opinion that you’d rather see this be less of a priority, but that horse already left the barn four years ago.

  47. So for me, it is a step backward because its more about assimilation than anything else and it takes much-needed attention and resources away from more vital gay issues.

    America is built on cultural assimilation. The US is not and never really has been multicultural in the normal sense of the word. That isn’t to say that there isn’t cultural diversity aplenty, but the diversity that thrives tends to be diversity in the process of assimilation (think China town) or diversity within uniquely American cultures that are built upon choice (think Boston vs Huston). Cultural diversity that tends to do miserably in the US (at least materially) tend to be cultures built upon things outside of choice (i.e. race, ethnicity, genetics, etc.).

    Cultural assimilation of homosexual culture isn’t a bad thing. It certainly won’t kill off the culture, but it will open up new options for people that don’t want to exist within a stereotype. In the same way you can burn out trying to live in punk or raver culture, you can also burn out on gay culture. Some times you might just want to be a boring old engineer with a partner with boring marriage benefits who doesn’t define himself based upon who has sex with any more than a heterosexual defines him/her self based upon who they like to sleep with.

    Further, a lot of the things that define “gay” culture can be found in other sub-cultures that define values without defining the exact gender you need to be having sex with. Normalizing homosexuality just means that instead of every gay man or woman being stuffed into a predefined “gay culture”, they get to pick. Want to be polyamorous? Great, be polyamorous. Want to work a 9-5 and have a generic DINK relationship? Go for it.

    A good friend of mine came out a couple of years ago. What pissed him off more than anything about coming out wasn’t that people suddenly hated him. He had lot of liberal friends who didn’t bat an eyelash. What bothered him was that suddenly a lot of people mentally tossed him into “gay culture” when the truth was he didn’t change a bit. He found a lot of the gay culture to be shallow, superficial, and had little interest in it. For him, the world would be a better place if being gay was as normal as anything else, and people (gay or otherwise) picked whatever cultural it is they want to subscribe to indifferent to who they like to poke.

  48. The reason marriage equality has become “the” gay issue in recent years is because it is the most blatant example of government-sanctioned discrimination against homosexuals.

    Obviously there are other problems facing gays but most of them are social issues rather than legal ones. Laws can’t force people to like each other, but they can give everyone the same rights.

    During the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s one could have argued that economic and social forces were bigger problems for the average African American than legalized discrimination, but it was still an important fight to wage.

  49. to #5, or anyone else who can clarify: What are the state rights that marriage confers that domestic partnerships don’t?

    As far as I can tell, in California the only benefit that being married confers that being in a domestic partnership doesn’t is the right to file a joint federal tax return. Bill Clinton signed a law stating that the federal government only recognizes a marriage if it is between one man and one woman, so a gay marriage would not confer that right (USC Title 1, section 7).Unless someone can point out specific rights that domestic partnerships lack compared to marriages, this isn’t about rights: it’s about acceptance.

    One common misconception is that it’s illegal for homosexuals to marry in California. You can marry anyone (or anything) you want so long as you can find someone to perform the wedding. That’s why I see the ad as being very misleading, if not an outright lie. The issue here is whether the state recognizes and confers legal status and benefits upon the marriage.

    Frankly, I don’t think the government has any business dealing with marriage at all; it’s a personal issue. If someone can give me a definitive statement on what rights, I may change my position.

  50. What are the state rights that marriage confers that domestic partnerships don’t?

    Bragging rights, as in, “We sure showed them gays”.

    I agree with you though mostly.

    I want the state to issue one form for any two people who want to make a commitment, and let marriage be a church issue as it should be.

    Plenty of churches are willing to marry two people of the same sex – and it’s really none of the gov’ts business who your church chooses to exclude. There’s always the Unitarians.

    But this isn’t about that. This is about making sure the state DOES keep a role in what should be a strictly church issue – and, of course, bragging rights.

  51. I agree that the ad does *appear* somewhat misleading, though I don’t believe it misleading in an a sinisterly conspiratorial way.

    We might expect that all Californians are fully informed about the issue, but the reality is, that is probably not the case. A great many are undoubtedly aware of the issue only in a peripheral way, including those who might be inclined to support it and those who might be inclined to oppose it.

    Neglecting to mention specifically that prop 8 is about same-sex marriage rights is intentional – it avoids using ‘language’ that might further motivate those opposed to get out and vote, and it avoids using using the word ‘gay’ (which perhaps still inspires images of bearded leather-clad sadists raping schoolchildren, even in the minds of some otherwise urbane liberals).

    An additional possibility is that some of those who do not have a firm position on the subject will vote against the bill when they get in the voting booth just because they have some semi-conscious memory of this advertisement. They might remember only that the bill will prevent pretty, bright young people from marrying (it’s no accident that the ad doesn’t show two middle-aged lesbians), and as they’re all for fairy tale marriage, they’ll vote no to the bill. If you’re tuned in and aware, you know what the ad is about. But if you’re not so tuned in to the issue and you’re busy making dinner, watching your kids, and reading your Blackberry while catching this ad out of the corner of your eye, you could easily interpret it as a cute, young straight couple talking about how the bill will deprive THEM of getting married. In that sense, it contains misleading elements.

    Politics and marketing these days are all about tactics and manipulation, and making things at least a little misleading is the norm.

    The question we need to ask is not “is this ad misleading”, but “what does the fact that this ad is misleading say about us and our society, about our political system, our social and intellectual development, and the future of our democracy?”

  52. justONEguy “You can’t tell me that the Black and Latino men who lead double lives and infect their wives and girlfriends wouldn’t have benefited from AIDS prevention education that was tailored to them as gays, minorities or both.”
    You lost me. Do “they” do “it” differently than “us”? Do black people do it like this (/me acts all cool), while white people do it like this (/me acts all uptight)?

    mdh “But this isn’t about that. This is about making sure the state DOES keep a role in what should be a strictly church issue – and, of course, bragging rights.”
    It’s not a church “issue” at all. They can hum and haw and act outraged at the latest thing that “will destroy America”, but it’s an issue for two consenting adults. It’s a secular republic, not a theonomist theocracy. As such, while the Bible may form part of the values of the people, arguments from the Bible carry no more weight than arguments from anything else, and that passage from Leviticus is not Law. Thank God.

    Getting the undecideds now is good, but long-term these are the people you have to convince. Good luck. Worse, once the tide of history turns against them, they’ll say that True Christians were always for gay rights, much as they say about abolution, the civil rights movement and women’s sufferage now. It makes me wonder, actually, just what “our” cultural blind spot will prove to be. I’m guessing abortion, but that’s another conversation entirely.

  53. A) AIDS prevention education and safe-sex education aren’t gay rights issues.
    B) #35 LAMBDA Legal Defense brought Lawrence v Texas. I’m not sure how the gay rights groups could be seen to have ignored that issue in favor of marriage.
    C) #24 Not all gays live on the fringe. Some of us live right in the midst of mainstream America.

    I refuse to hide in smoky bars and “gay-friendly” neighborhoods because someone thinks I should be “fringe”. Heck, I work, pay my mortgage, love my kids, and bar-b-q on the holidays just like everyone else. I’ve never worn a boa or chaps (in public).

    If the state doesn’t have a problem taking my tax dollars, then they shouldn’t have a problem conferring equal rights AND status to my partner and I.

  54. “I live in California, I am completely against Prop 8, and I find this ad highly deceptive.”

    If you’re already against Prop 8, I’m pretty sure you’re not the target audience for this ad. It’s a safe bet that the target audience for this ad is the undecided voter… someone who’s perhaps not personally comfortable with homosexuality as such, but who may be receptive to appeals to fairness and equality, and to the principle of governmental restraint.

    “If the No On Prop 8 folks don’t want to just preach to the choir, they need to make the relatively few people in the middle confront their own prejudices. This ad is deceptive because it tries to sway people by getting them to overlook their prejudices.”

    Well, the “No On Prop 8” campaign seems to disagree pretty strongly with you on this one. I’ve done some phone banking for “No On 8”, calling undecided voters, and what we have most certainly NOT been doing in those phone calls is forcing undecided voters to “confront their own prejudices.” Instead, as mentioned above, we’ve been appealing to fairness and equality (i.e., our argument to undecided voters has not been, “C’mon, don’t be bigoted against gays,” but rather, “No matter how you feel about this issue, don’t you feel our state constitution should stand for equality for all Californians?”).

    Personally, I think it’s a smart choice on the part of the “No On 8” campaign. You’ve gotta meet the voters where they are, not where you wish they were. And forcing people to confront their own prejudices is something you do between elections… not 6 weeks before people go to the polls.

    Getting undecided voters (and soft “Yes” voters) to overlook their prejudices is, in my opinion, exactly the right choice to make at this juncture.

    Patrick Meighan
    Culver City, CA

  55. My taxes go to support my local, state, and federal government: I should then be able to enjoy all of the rights and privileges granted by these secular entities. It’s kind of like if the postal service would only deliver letters to blondes.

  56. Maybe, instead of trying as hard as we can to merge into heteronormative, quasi-Judaic monogamous ownership culture, like good little conformists, we should be questioning why we want to get “married” at all.

    As a favorite character of mine puts it, “Why the fsck would I want to be a Stepford fag? I’m queer. I like to dance and fsck. Get over it.”

    Legal rights are one thing. They’re contract rights, they should be open to everyone in every way. If groups of rich people can declare themselves a single entity and immediately have the power to oppress us left and right while the state falls over to kiss their – ‘scuse me , its – 4ss, I can share status with and grant rights to 3 people, two guys and an intersexed pre-op hermaphrodite, if I so choose. But there’s no reason to beg breeder culture to let us buy into their sky-high-divorce-rate pseudoreligious clusterfsck of a socioromantic institution.

    Why do we apologize for gay relationships? Oh, no, gay marriage rights don’t imply polygamy rights. Of course they do, and there’s nothing wrong with it. People are frequently polyamorous. Love and sex are different. Gender is a construct.

    Maybe it’s easier for gay people to see those things – once you break the model once, the rest of the fault lines are clearer. And maybe, we shouldn’t be hastening to give that clarity of sight up for the dubious benefits of mainstreamness.

  57. California Domestic Partnerships are not the equivalent of a marriage. It is the functional equivalent of cohabitation. There are nine differences between Domestic Partnerships and marriage as determined by the California Supreme Court.

    1. First, although the domestic partnership provisions require that both partners
    have a common residence at the time a domestic partnership is established (§ 297,
    subd. (b) (1)), there is no similar requirement for marriage.

    2. Second, although the domestic partnership legislation requires that both persons be at least 18 years of age when the partnership is established (§ 297, subd. (b)(4)), the marriage statutes permit a person under the age of 18 to marry with the consent of a parent or guardian or a court order. (§§ 302, 303.)

    3. Third, to establish a domestic partnership,
    the two persons desiring to become domestic partners must complete and file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State, who registers the declaration in a statewide registry for such partnerships (§ 298.5, subds. (a), (b)); to marry, a couple must obtain a marriage license and certificate of registry of
    marriage from the county clerk, have the marriage solemnized by an authorized individual, and return the marriage license and certificate of registry to the county recorder of the county in which the license was issued, who keeps a copy of the
    certificate of registry of marriage and transmits the original certificate to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. (§§ 306, 359; Health & Saf. Code, §§ 102285, 102330,

    4. Fourth, although the marriage statutes establish a procedure under which an unmarried man and unmarried woman who have been residing together as husband and wife may enter into a “confidential marriage” in which the marriage
    certificate and date of the marriage are not made available to the public (§ 500 et seq.), the domestic partnership law contains no similar provisions for “confidential domestic partnership.”

    5. Fifth, although both the domestic partnership and marriage statutes provide a procedure for summary dissolution of the domestic partnership or
    marriage under the same limited circumstances, a summary dissolution of a domestic partnership is initiated by the partners’ joint filing of a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State and may become effective without any court action, whereas a summary dissolution of a marriage is initiated by the spouses’ joint filing of a petition in superior court and becomes effective only upon entry of a court judgment; in both instances, the dissolution
    does not take effect for at least six months from the date dissolution is sought, and during that period either party may terminate the summary dissolution. (§§ 299, subds. (a)-(c), 2400 et seq.)

    6. Sixth, although a proceeding to dissolve a domestic partnership may be filed in superior court “even if neither domestic partner is a
    resident of, or maintains a domicile in, the state at the time the proceedings are filed” (§ 299, subd. (d)), a judgment of dissolution of marriage may not be obtained unless one of the parties has been a resident of California for six months and a
    resident of the county in which the proceeding is filed for three months prior to the filing of the petition for dissolution. (§ 2320.)

    7. Seventh, in order to protect the federal tax-qualified status of the CalPERS (California Public Employees’ Retirement System) long-term care insurance program (see Sen. Com. on
    Appropriations, fiscal summary of Assem. Bill No. 205 (2003-2004 Reg. Sess.) as amended Aug. 21, 2003; 26 U.S.C. § 7702B(f)(2)(C)), the domestic partnership statute provides that “nothing in this section applies to modify eligibility for [such]
    long-term care plans” (§ 297.5, subd. (g)), which means that although such a plan may provide coverage for a state employee’s spouse, it may not provide coverage for an employee’s domestic partner; this same disparity, however, would exist even if same-sex couples were permitted to marry under California law, because for federal law purposes the nonemployee partner would not be considered a spouse. (See 1 U.S.C. § 7.)

    8. Eighth, an additional difference stems from the provisions of California Constitution, article XIII, section 3, subdivisions (o) and (p), granting a $1,000 property tax exemption to an “unmarried spouse of a deceased veteran” who
    owns property valued at less than $10,000; however, as the Legislative Analyst explained when this constitutional provision last was amended in 1988 (see Ballot Pamp., Gen. Elec. (Nov. 8, 1988) analysis by Legis. Analyst of Prop. 93, p. 60),
    few persons claim this exemption, because a homeowner may not claim both this exemption and the more generous homeowner’s exemption on the same property (Rev. & Tax. Code, § 205.5, subd. (f)), and the homeowner’s exemption is available to both married persons and domestic partners. (See § 297.5, subd. (a).)

    9. Ninth, one appellate decision has held that the putative spouse doctrine (codified in
    § 2251) does not apply to an asserted putative domestic partner. (Velez v. Smith (2006) 142 Cal.App.4th 1154, 1172-1174.)

  58. @57 No: black people do it like this (/me acts all closet), while white people do it like this (/me acts all wedding registries)?

    @58 AIDS prevention education and safe-sex education aren’t gay rights issues. Then neither is gay marriage, which has more to do with the merger of upper middle-class and wealthy people’s finances.

    Not all gays live on the fringe. Some of us live right in the midst of mainstream America. Gay is not synonymous with queer.

  59. justONEguy “@57 No: black people do it like this (/me acts all closet), while white people do it like this (/me acts all wedding registries)?”
    Ah…so other groups are at least as messy and fucked up as the rest of us. Good to know.

  60. So, on the basis of the “nine differences between Domestic Partnerships and marriage” posted by Anonymous, the reasons we should all support same-sex marriage are…

    1. First, so a same-sex couple who don’t even want to live together can get hitched.

    2. Second, so kids (not yet 18 years old) of the same sex can get hitched.

    3. Third, so it will become as troublesome and expensive for a same-sex couple to get hitched as it is for a man and woman.

    4. Fourth, so same-sex couples can keep their unions “in the closet”.

    5. Fifth, so it will become as troublesome and expensive for a same-sex couple to end their union as it is for a man and woman.

    6. Sixth, so a same-sex couple will not be able to end their union at all unless at least one of them still resides in the state where the union was formed. (Ask any same-sex couple who are struggling with that conundrum now how they like it.)

    7. Seventh, even though it won’t have any affect at all on any federal statutes concerning same-sex unions.

    8. Eighth, so the surviving member of a same-sex union can take a property tax exemption under article XIII, section 3, instead of the “more generous homeowner’s exemption on the same property”.

    9. Ninth, because “one appellate decision has held that the putative spouse doctrine… does not apply to an asserted putative domestic partner”…
    …even though the Velez v. Smith ruling was overturned in May by Ellis v. Arriaga ( thus insuring that the putative spouse doctrine will indeed apply to same-sex partnerships after all.

    And what is so compelling about any of this?

  61. You’re missing the point, Antinous.

    Anonymous’ post was in response to the (correct) assertion that domestic partnerships already give same-sex couples the same basic rights under California law that married couples have – other than the mere title of “married”.

    In fact, when the court ruled that the putative spouse doctrine does in fact apply to domestic partnerships they appropriately pointed out that “…the Domestic Partner Act was specifically designed by the Legislature to make the rights and responsibilities of registered domestic partners as similar to the rights and responsibilities of married couples as permissible under California law, without actually recognizing a right of gay and lesbian couples to marry.”

    Anonymous did indeed list some insignificant differences found in the minutiae of the law. But please explain to me exactly how changing any of those nine differences would be a meaningful and/or desirable outcome.

    1. No, Leland, it’s you who’s missing the point. You see the details, but completely miss the ethical implications of ‘separate but equal’.

  62. Feel free to enlighten me. Explain what the “separate but equal” doctrine has to do with any of this and how.

    I don’t think you’ll be able to make a valid case on that one, but my mind is open. (Is yours?)

    1. Equality is more than a laundry list of utilitarian items. It is a state of being. The knowledge that one does not have the same rights as one’s peers is intrinsically oppressive.

  63. how can one have an “open mind” if they already think the other “won’t be able to make a valid case”?

  64. knw tht y frks hv frcd yrslvs n th rst f s..wht s th rgmnt fr stppng ncstl,plygmst,nmbl mmbrs frm gttng mrrd??? fr tht mttr why rstrct t t 2 cnsntng hmns??

    whs fld mrlty r w gng t s??..bnch frks f cld vt mlln tms ys n 8 wld.

    jst fl bd fr th chldrn y frc nt whckd t lfstyl.

    sc bstrds!!!

  65. how can one have an “open mind” if they already think the other “won’t be able to make a valid case”?

    Easy. I tried to figure out how I would make that case. Nothing reasonable occurred to me but, like I said, I’d be willing to consider any arguments anyone else would like to make.


  66. #72 posted by Antinous , September 23, 2008 9:39 PM
    Equality is more than a laundry list of utilitarian items…

    So are you agreeing with me? Because it was a “laundry list of utilitarian items” that Anonymous posted to begin with. And it’s a list of utterly vacuous differences, as well.

  67. There is something grievously wrong when Pigmeat can post a comment like that, but no one can criticize the moderation scheme or mention John McCain.

    With all due respect, Antinous, I think you’ve demonstrated some mixed-up priorities recently.

  68. HereticGestalt: I criticize such things here all the time! Ooo, darn McCain’s moderation scheme! Darn it to heck!

  69. “Easy. I tried to figure out how I would make that case. Nothing reasonable occurred to me”

    Entertain that your mind does not contain all.

  70. buddisatva, won’tcha take me by the hand?/ boddisatva, won’tcha take me by the hand?/ and i’ll be there. shinin’ your japan, sparkling your china./ yes i’ll be there, buddisatva, buddisatva, buddisatva, buddisatva….ah, look out!

  71. #80 posted by Takuan , September 27, 2008 8:15 AM

    “Easy. I tried to figure out how I would make that case. Nothing reasonable occurred to me”

    Entertain that your mind does not contain all.

    Therefore the need to keep an open mind. Try it sometime.

  72. I though you should know about — and alert your readers to — “Save the Institution!” a hilarious, and dead-on, musical skewering of the “Really, we’re not homophobic, we’re just trying to save the institution of marriage” crowd. Well produced and funny as hell — unusual combination for political music. I heard it at

    Don’t let the MySpace scare you, it is definitely worth a listen.


  73. There is nothing in the current law that requires any church official or anyone to perform a marriage ceremony. Churches and religious groups will not lose tax exempt status if this law doesn’t pass.

    Think about it…this law has been legal for several months now and nobody has lost their tax status, schools aren’t teaching homosexuality, and marriage is not being killed off by the gays. In fact, none of the dire predictions by the Yes on 8 people have happened and gays have been getting married by the thousands since it has been legal.

    The fact that the religious right has to resort to lies and scare tactics in their efforts to deny other human beings their rights should say more about the lie-mongers than their victims.

    I am straight. I have been married for 30+ years. Gay marriage does not take anything away from my marriage. It does not threaten me. It does not scare me. Two people loving each other is not a scary thing.

    If Prop 8 passes, it will put discrimination in the California constitution. That is a scarier idea than any of the Prop 8 proponents arguments.

    It’s wonderful for people to believe in the Bible and have faith. We don’t need to include religious ideas in our constitution. That violates the separation of church and state.

    No on Prop 8

  74. With all due respect, Antinous, I think you’ve demonstrated some mixed-up priorities recently.

    The comment was made on a six day old post. Although the comment was flagged by several readers, I would not have seen the flags unless I had pawed through a week’s worth of flagged comments. Teresa had just gotten out of the hospital, and it slipped through the cracks.

  75. I’m ExMormon. My family started that freemason/satanic cult. I have been a victim of their kidnappings, burglaries, theft, threats, intimidation, assaults, lies, slander, you name it. If anything happens to the LDS churches/temples or followers deemed as bad or immoral so be it! Death to Freemasonry!

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