An Offer They Can't Refuse

by digby

The bigots allegedly doing the Lord's work in California are getting really nasty. Now they are extorting money from companies that support gay marriage:

Leaders of the campaign to outlaw same-sex marriage in California are warning businesses that have given money to the state's largest gay rights group they will be publicly identified as opponents of traditional unions unless they contribute to the gay marriage ban, too., the umbrella group behind a ballot initiative that would overturn the California Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage, sent a certified letter this week asking companies to withdraw their support of Equality California, a nonprofit organization that is helping lead the campaign against Proposition 8.

"Make a donation of a like amount to which will help us correct this error," reads the letter. "Were you to elect not to donate comparably, it would be a clear indication that you are in opposition to traditional marriage. ... The names of any companies and organizations that choose not to donate in like manner to but have given to Equality California will be published."

The letter was signed by four members of the group's executive committee: campaign chairman Ron Prentice; Edward Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference; Mark Jansson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and Andrew Pugno, the lawyer for A donation form was attached. The letter did not say where the names would be published.

Is that even legal? More importantly, considering the context, is that supposed to be moral?

These people have every right to boycott businesses that support No on 8. It's disgusting that they refuse to allow their fellow citizens the right and privileges afforded by marriage, but they have a right to their beliefs. But I find it hard to believe they have a right to extort money from people who believe differently than them and threaten them with "exposure" if they refuse. When did that become SOP?

And naturally, these are the same people who have run the most dishonest campaign in my memory. I've never seen anything like it:

THE LIE: Four activist judges ignored four million voters.
THE TRUTH: Voters were far from ignored. Proposition 22, which originally made same-sex marriage illegal, was at the center of the court case. The California Constitution has not been this carefully examined since interracial marriage was made legal in 1959. Three of those four judges were appointed by Republicans.

THE LIE: Churches can lose their tax-exempt status.
THE TRUTH: Churches have the right to preach whatever they believe, and deny marriage to anyone on any grounds. This does not affect their tax-exempt status at all. Prop 8 would do nothing to protect this right any further.

THE LIE: Schools will have to teach about gay marriage.
THE TRUTH: The State of California does not control curriculum about marriage. They mandate that children are taught about the financial responsibilities of marriage, but not about what marriage is; that is completely up to the school and the parents. Parents have the right to remove their children from class any time they would be taught something about health and families that the parents disagree with. Prop 8 would do nothing to protect this right any further.

THE LIE: Prop 8 ensures religious freedom.
THE TRUTH: Considering some churches allow same-sex marriage, Prop 8 would actually take away a religious freedom. The judges in the court ruling took extra steps to ensure that freedom of religion was preserved. Prop 8 would do nothing at all to ensure religious freedom.

THE LIE: Prop 8 ensures free speech.
THE TRUTH: The court ruling did nothing to free speech, and neither would Prop 8.

THE LIE: Prop 8 means less government.
THE TRUTH: Prop 8 is an amendment to the California Constitution that dictates what a marriage is. It actually means that the government is more involved in our lives.

These people are pulling out all the stops and there is no guarantee this amendment is going to fail. California is in the bag for Obama and there's no real campaign going on here. But the "No on Prop 8" campaign is fierce and if you feel like getting involved, there are ways to do it:

Donate. The Mormons are pouring money into this thing.

Volunteer at a local campaign office. Or phone bank from your home.

One of the big problems is that many people still don't understand that voting NO is the way to support gay marriage. The least we can all do is make sure we are explicit in our conversations about that part of it.