Report: Mormon Families Leave Church Over Prop 8

Red Sex, Blue Sex Why do so many evangelical teen-agers become pregnant? by Margaret Talbot

The “sexual début” of an evangelical girl typically occurs just after she turns sixteen. Photograph by Mary Ellen Mark.
This is a great article, and I see it as directly related to queer rights!

Amazing Prop 8 Protest Photos by Emily Hoyer

My friend Leigh sent me this Flikr photo stream by her photographer friend Emily Hoyer. The images are beautiful and moving.

MSNBC Keith Olbermann on Prop 8

Poultry And People– From SF Gate

Poultry And People– From SF Gate

Prop 2, which ensures chickens the right to engage in basic life activities such as stretching their wings, passed yesterday by an impressive margin.

Prop 8, which detracts from human beings' rights to engage in the basic life activity of falling in love, also passed.

Californians are willing to pay—and tolerate some risk to the state's agricultural industry—to ensure farm animals their rights. They're also willing to pay to take them away from gays and lesbians when those rights have no real-world effects on heterosexuals.

According to the Williams Institute, maintaining legal same-sex marriage would have put an additional $64 million [pdf] in the coffers of state and local governments.

I'm proud of Prop 2's success and I'm happy for the chickens. But why is my right to fall in love so odious to my fellow Californians? Octogenarian men can legally marry twenty-something arm candy. Cousins can marry. Surely these unions do not uphold the noble ideals of marriage backers of Prop 8 claim justify the exclusion of same-sex couples (noble ideals which are wholly fabricated—the real origins of marriage date to tribal societies where women were property and virginity was fetishized not because it was virtuous but because paternity was just a theory. For a compelling analysis of evangelicals' facts and fantasies about sex and marriage, read this New Yorker article).

If any commitment of a noble rite makes a mockery of that rite, it is the act of voting to insert discrimination against a minority into the constitution. What greater abuse of democracy is there?

Sadly, votes based on hate do not respond to facts or economic analyses. And so, most progressive ballot measures fail if analysis suggests they will be ineffectual or expensive, but discriminatory measures sail through the realm of facts and logic unscathed. It's a major problem with California's ballot system, and, yesterday's presidential election notwithstanding, I don't think we will have a truly healthy national democracy until everyone agrees that facts—not religious fervor—are the currency of social discourse.

Still, voters were willing to act with something not unlike religious fervor in order to protect another helpless minority: the chickens. Why the difference?

Note: Some readers took this post to mean that voters should have chosen GLBTs over chickens, or that chickens now have more quality of life than gays and lesbians. Not so. I supported Prop 2. I only wonder why the empathy voters expressed for farm animals didn't extend to their fellow humans. True compassion, like true equality, doesn't pick and choose.

Posted By: Cameron Scott (Email) | November 05 2008 at 11:04 AM

Same-sex marriage may be key issue in November

Same-sex marriage may be key issue in November
SFGate article
John Wildermuth, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, September 9, 2008
(09-08) 18:24 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- With same-sex marriage bans on the ballot in three high-profile states in November, presidential hopefuls John McCain and Barack Obama could find themselves stuck in a fight they'd rather avoid.
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California, Arizona and Florida will ask voters to approve constitutional amendments limiting marriage to a man and woman, and the high-priced election clash over the issue could help decide who becomes the nation's next president.

Polls show Obama and McCain running neck and neck in much of the nation, which means that any issue that could bring out voters in a swing state such as Florida has to be taken seriously by both parties.

But with the economy, the war in Iraq and health care drawing the most attention in the race for president, same-sex marriage isn't a battleground either candidate would choose, said Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College.

"Both men need to appeal to moderates," he said. "And neither candidate seems comfortable talking about this."

The question of same-sex marriage has been especially vexing to Obama, who needs to hang on to his progressive Democratic base, which sees same-sex marriage as a human rights issue, while not offending moderate blue-collar Democrats and independents, who might not be comfortable seeing two men or two women holding hands and saying, "I do."

Obama has tried to tread a narrow road between the two positions. He says marriage should be limited to a man and a woman but opposes California's Proposition 8, which would put that limit in the state Constitution and overturn a state Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that legalized same-sex marriage.

At a forum in Southern California last month, Obama explained his position to an audience made up mostly of evangelical Christians.

"I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman," he said to cheers. "I am not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage, but I do believe in civil unions. ... I think my faith is strong enough and my marriage is strong enough that I can afford those civil rights to others, even if I have a different perspective or a different view."

His running mate, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, takes the same position, opposing same-sex marriage and the state amendments that would ban it.

McCain, who in 2004 opposed a GOP-backed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions nationwide, has long been viewed with suspicion by conservatives, so his outspoken opposition to same-sex marriage - and support for the three November initiatives - is a huge plus with that group.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, his choice as running mate, also opposes same-sex marriages and supported a 1998 amendment to ban them in her home state.
McCain needs center

But the conservative vote alone isn't enough to carry McCain to victory in November.

"McCain needs to attract centrists who might otherwise vote for Obama," Pitney said. "He doesn't want to seem a tool of the religious right."

At the Southern California forum, the senator from Arizona reiterated that marriage should be "a union between man and woman, between one man and one woman," but he left the door open for other, less-controversial unions.

"That doesn't mean that people can't enter into legal agreements," he said. "That doesn't mean that they don't have the rights of all citizens. I'm not saying that. I am saying that we should preserve the unique status of marriage between one man and one woman."

But political realities might not let the two candidates sidle carefully away from the same-sex marriage debate.

While the issue isn't likely to change the presidential result in a strong Democratic state like California or sway McCain's home state of Arizona to Obama, the fight over same-sex marriage in a toss-up state like Florida could make a difference in the national contest.

The marriage amendment can attract voters who otherwise might stay home on election day, said John Stemberger, head of Yes2Marriage, the group backing Florida's anti-same-sex marriage Amendment 2.

"Especially among social conservatives, there have been a lot of things about McCain that they don't like," he said. "But this will give a lot of conservatives a reason to come to the polls."

Four years ago, similar same-sex marriage bans were on the ballot in 11 states - and won in every one of them. Only in Oregon and Michigan did the measures receive less than 60 percent of the vote. Some political analysts suggested that the issue brought out enough conservative voters in Ohio to swing the state to GOP President Bush, giving him the state's 20 electoral votes and a national victory.
Close campaign

"Florida is one state where same-sex marriage might have a serious effect," Pitney said. "It's a close campaign there between McCain and Obama, and a point or two might make a difference."

But opponents of the measure are confident that they have the votes to defeat the same-sex marriage ban, especially because a new Florida law requires a 60 percent vote to pass a constitutional amendment. The most recent polls show the amendment's support at about 58 percent.

"This is not yet a hot campaign," said Derek Newton, campaign manager for Florida Red and Blue, which is working to defeat Amendment 2. "This isn't the same issue it was two or four (election) cycles before. It doesn't seem to have people as excited."

There are signs that the nation is becoming more accepting. While national polls still show that a solid majority of Americans remains opposed to same-sex marriage, the numbers have slipped since 2004.

In California, same-sex marriages have become an everyday occurrence, with few public protests since the ceremonies became legal in June. The Hallmark greeting card company, with its world headquarters in the Midwestern hub of Kansas City, Mo., has put out a new line of same-sex wedding cards, one of which features two tuxedos.

That doesn't mean the fall contests won't be hard-fought. The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic service group, recently gave $1 million to the campaign to pass California's same-sex marriage ban, while Bruce Bastian, co-founder of WordPerfect software, gave $1 million to Prop. 8 opponents. In Florida and Arizona, both sides are geared up for tough campaigns.

But times have changed, and those changes might be seen in the presidential race.

"There's a lack of gay marriage being noticeable, of being a seismic event," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington group that works for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. "Anyone who tries to introduce it into the national campaign does so at their own peril."
Why Florida counts

Swing state: The outcome of a measure banning same-sex marriage in swing-state Florida may help determine who the next president is more than similar measures in California and Arizona.

Obama: Defeat of the Florida measure, which requires 60 percent approval, would help Barack Obama, who opposes such constitutional amendments.

McCain: GOP candidate John McCain needs Florida to win. In 2004, the state's 27 electoral votes helped President Bush win re-election.

Proposition 8: Ridiculous and Dangerous

Here is a rundown of Prop 8:
Prop. 8: Same-sex marriage ban | Vote NO

What it would do: Same-sex couples could not be legally married.
Thumbs up: Marriage should only be between one man and one woman.
Thumbs down: Changing times demand equal rights for same-sex couples.
Supporters: California Catholic Conference, American Family Association, Traditional Values Coalition. Web site: www.protectmarriage.com. Reported contributions: $14.7 million.
Opponents: Marriage Equality USA, California Labor Federation, Anti-Defamation League, American Civil Liberties Union. Web site: www.noonprop8.com. Reported contributions: $13.5 million.