Stop me if you've heard this one.
It's bad enough that the Yes on Prop 8 campaign -- the initiative to stop same-sex marriage in California -- has been telling outright lies in their campaign ads. (Saying, among other things, that if Prop 8 fails and same-sex marriage is allowed to stand in California, kindergartners will be taught about gay sex in public schools, and churches will lose their tax-exempt status if they refuse to perform same-sex weddings. (Both outright lies. Both lies so ugly that even a Mormon scholar has denounced the campaign for telling them, and a group of 59 law professors has issued a joint statement detailing the falsehoods in the campaign.)
Believe it or not, it gets worse than this.
The Yes on 8 campaign has a TV ad/video running (here's the video, properly fisked), using footage from a 1st grade field trip to their teacher's lesbian wedding... and using it without the parents' permission. These parents are very much against Prop 8 -- the field trip to the wedding was optional, and the parents happily gave permission for their kids to attend -- and they've written letters and given a press conference, expressing their anger that their children are being used to support a cause they so vehemently oppose... and expressly refusing their permission for their children's images to be used in this ad.
Yes on 8 is ignoring the parents' request, and is continuing to run the ads.
So let me get this straight. The whole point of this particular ad is that parents have rights when it comes to raising their kids. The whole point is the claim -- patently false -- that if gay marriage is allowed to remain legal, parents won't be able to decide how their kids are to be raised and what values about marriage they'll be taught.
And yet they're using the images of 1st grade children, not only in a distortion of reality, but in direct opposition to the parents' clearly expressed wishes.
Those are some great family values you got there, people. That's some real respect for parents' rights.
That's enough reason right there to support No on 8. But believe it or not, it gets even worse.
Yes on 8 hasn't just been telling outright lies. They haven't just been using the images of children against their parents' express wishes.
They've resorted to blackmail.
ProtectMarriage.com sent a certified letter to several business that donated money to No on 8, threatening to expose them as opponents of traditional marriage unless they made an equal donation to Yes on 8. The letter went not only to large businesses like Levi Strauss and AT&T; it went to small businesses as well.
Just to be clear: They have a legal right to reveal those names. The identity of companies who donate to political campaigns is a matter of public record. But it is morally repugnant to link a threat of exposure with a request for money. The word for that is blackmail.
And blackmail is not a family value.
So again, let me get this straight. The Yes on 8 campaign claims to be about protecting traditional morality and traditional family values. To accomplish this, they are telling outright lies; violating parents' rights when it comes to their kids; and resorting to out- and- out blackmail.
And this is the morality they want us to support. This is the world they want us to live in.
Okay. Now, the important part.
We can't let this stand.
We can't let this work.
We can't let them win.
The Prop 8 race is very, very close. Nobody knows at this point which way it's going to go. And it's a hugely important race -- not only for California, but for the country. California is widely seen as a political pioneer, and whichever way this election goes, it sets a precedent for the rest of the country. If same-sex marriage is banned in California, it's going to be much harder for it to get a foothold in any other state. And if same-sex marriage is allowed to stand in California, it becomes much more clear every day that family and society is not being brought to a crashing disaster by this latest evolution in the institution of marriage... and the cause of equality gets a big, big lift. (And nobody will be able to blame it on "activist judges".)
The amazing thing about the Internet -- well, one of the amazing things -- is that it makes it much, much easier for political campaigns to raise serious amounts of money in large numbers of small donations. It's one of the main reasons behind the success of the Obama campaign, which by February of this year had raised $28 million online -- 90% of which was in donations of $100 or less, and 40% of which was in donations of $25 or less.
My point: Small donations matter. Small donations add up.
If you can, please donate to the No on Prop 8 campaign. Even a small donation of $25 would make a difference. If you really, really can't, then please, talk to your friends and family. Volunteer to do phone banking. If you can't donate money to help No on 8 run their video ads on TV, then spread the ads directly. Write about it in your blog, and encourage your readers to make donations. Please don't let bigots write their bigotry into the California State Constitution... and don't let lies, blackmail, and the unwilling manipulation of children win.