Thursday, January 29, 2009

Come out, Come out, Wherever you are!

Judge denies request to keep Proposition 8 donors secret
[The Sacramento Bee]

A federal judge today denied an attempt by Proposition 8 supporters to withhold disclosure of late campaign donors to the state's same-sex marriage ban.

California's Political Reform Act, approved by voters in 1974, requires disclosure of the name, occupation and employer of anyone contributing $100 or more to campaigns. The suit challenges the constitutionality of the disclosure requirement, claiming donors to Proposition 8 have been ravaged by e-mails, phone calls and postcards -- even death threats.

Yes on 8 campaign officials said hundreds of people have alleged harassment, intimidation or threats. Attorneys for Proposition 8 assert that First Amendment rights to be free from retaliation outweigh the state's interest in disclosure.

But U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. disagreed.

"The court finds that the state is not facilitating retaliation by compelling disclosure," he said.


Among the comments on the online article was this keeper:

Funny how it's the Yes on 8 side that's afraid to be known. Don't hear that from the No on 8 side, do we? Why? Because bigots hide in the dark ...



Hiram said...

Given what happened to the owner of that restaurant in LA who had made a donation to "Yes on 8," it is not "bigots hiding in the dark -- it is people who have no desire to be picketed, yelled at, or otherwise harassed. Stores have been boycotted (perfectly legal, but definitely a difficulty) and homes have been surrounded and (I believe) defaced. There are reports of threatening letters, e-mails, and phone calls - and these are not legal.

I have clergy friends who have let their opposition to the ordination of persons in same-sex relationships be known - and who have received anonymous and threatening calls and letters as a result.

The democratic political process is founded on the idea of rational debate of the issues. If intimidation replaces rational debate, you have something other than a democracy.


"I have clergy friends who have let their opposition to the ordination of persons in same-sex relationships be known - and who have received anonymous and threatening calls and letters as a result."

Bummer. I'll see you and raise you what those who support full inclusion have endured over this 30+ year journey toward justice.

There's a BIG difference between intimidation and accountablity. If you're going to pour thousands of dollars into a campaign to strip people of their rights except to be held accoutable. Expect not to get our business. Expect us to write and tell you WHY you're not getting our business. Expect us to show up and let others know why they shouldn't give you their business.

Boycotts work for a reason. And the time has come to smoke out the bigots and so I say "Bravo" to the justice who is willingn to let us see who the "man behind the curtain" is on Prop 8.

Let the accounting begin!

Hiram said...

Boycotts are a perfectly valid form of putting pressure on a company. We each have the right to do business with whomever we want to – or to choose to go without – for any reason. I am boycotting a number of companies right now, for a variety of reasons. But a boycott is not harassment, with personal attacks, picketing, rocks through windows, nasty phone calls, etc. etc.

Here is something Bp Duncan’s wife wrote shortly before Bp Robinson’s civil union ceremony last June: “I wish Gene would call me- I could tell him what I do about the death threats and unpleasant things that +Bob gets in the mail. The Post Office x-rays our packages and the telephone company will put something called caller identification on his phone. That way if anyone calls without caller id or blocks the id, the caller is asked to identify him or herself and a special ring is sounded on the phone - no identify - no ring through! that simple. It worked for us. I had it put on after the call that said “I hope you and your entire family die.” that did it for me. Death threats? The Duncan family will match him threat for threat. Bullet proof vests? If the Africans don’t wear them why on earth should we? And when was the last time he got packages filled with excrement? Yuck.”

The actions Mrs Duncan describes are not a boycott – and these are the things supporters of Proposition 8 do not want happening to them.

Do I want you to experience various forms of nastiness simply because you are someone attracted sexually to those of your own sex? No; it is as wrong to make your life miserable for something you do not know how to change as it is for anti-prop 8 people to picket supporters of the measure. Nor should you or any other supporter of same-sex relationships be harassed for your support of allowing people of the same-sex to be married in the eyes of the state.

Boycotts are a matter of free choice in an area where we have freedom of choice. Intimidation and harassment seek to force a choice by personal pressure, not by rational means. The people seeking relief from the open campaign law seek to be protected from the personal wrath of those who oppose their convictions. Who could blame them?

Jim said...

In fact, there is a line that should not be crossed when engaged in political debate. But(!) that does not mean that those who funded the prop 8 campain have a perogative to use the courts to avoid the risks we all face in an open society.

Find those on either side who make death threats -- send them to prision. But no one gets to be anonymous in a political debate.



BINGO, jimB!

So here's my "entitlement" argument: These are the same folks who don't want to perform same sex marriages but rather than just not performing them, decide to keep everybody ELSE from performing them, too.

By the same token, if we get threatening emails, death threats or -- in far too many, sad cases -- actual physical threat, any protect we ask for is called "special rights" -- but if THEY get them they want the law changed so they can keep their identity hidden.

Here's the bottom line: Violence is bad. No one should threaten ANYBODY EVER. People who do should be held accountable to the full extent of the law. And people who inspire them to by using language that dehumanizes others because of their race, gender, orientation or identity need to take responsiblity for their part in creating a the climate that makes that kind of behavior possible.

IT said...

Let's also remember that it was the pro-Prop8 folks who decided to attempt extortion on Prop8 opponents, all the way back in October. Didn't work so well,as hte opponents, with the courage of their convictions, responded with a "publish and be damned!"

My recent thoughts about this here, can be boiled down to if you are ashamed to be known for having done something, perhaps that is an indication you shouldn't have done it.

Moreover, aside from a few high profile cases documented in the press, most of what Hiram cites is anecdotal and it's not clear it happened

You see, the Prop8 opponents are also public. And vulnerable. You REALLY want to try to match us on the violence issue, Hiram? A boycott versus this? Violent hate crimes against gay folks are on the rise.
From a series of street bashings in Seattle to the baseball bat murder of an Ecuadorean immigrant in New York, episodes of anti-gay violence punctuated a year now ending with police investigating the alleged gang rape of a lesbian near San Francisco.