California Proposition 8, the ban on gay marriage, which looked certain for defeat up to three weeks ago, now very well might pass. FiveThirtyEight.com has the measure running as a toss-up (with a VERY ironic chart graphic -- I swear to God, I didn't Photoshop that graphic on the right -- that's really the p0lling chart).
The reason for the shift? Wealthy out-of-state contributors like Jesus Christ Church of the Latter Day Saints in Utah and Focus on the Family's resident wingnut James Dobson are contributing HUGE amounts of money to air television commercial full of what Christians are good at manipulating for their own benefit -- fear, bigotry, and hatred for "the other."
Because we all know that homosexuals have set an ultra-secret, widespread agenda for converting your children into full-blown, Cher-loving nancy-boys, the ads imply that, if Prop 8 fails, homosexuality will be taught in schools and advocated by first and second grade teachers as the way to go. In one ad, a little boy actually returns from school with what appears to be a textbook about a king who marries a king.
Elementary school teachers everywhere must be howling. They can't even get spelling textbooks for their first and second graders, let alone instruction manuals in homosexuality. But, because there are whole blocks of Christian homophobes in the inner parts of California who might rather their children contract a fatal disease than turn out to be gay*, the ads are working.
It's not like we haven't been down this road before. This happens every elections cycle. Uber-Christian wackos get this type of legislation on the ballot, run a bunch of inflammatory ads, implying that gays are all child molesters and recruiters after your children, and the legislation passes. Then the California Supreme Court overturns it as unconstitutional (cecause that's what you call it when you strip a group of people of their rights because you don't like their lifestyle, race or religion), and gay marriage is on again. And then it starts all over.
Please, please join me in breaking this cycle. Stripping people of their rights is wrong, regardless of your personal views on their lifestyle. Other people getting married doesn't affect your marriage or family in the least, and the gay folk don't care whether your son or daughter is gay or not. Gay people, it turns out (and you could have knocked me over with the feather when I found out), really only care about their families and their children, just like the rest of us. And public elementary school teachers have their hands full trying to teach your children how to read in an underfunded, underequipped classroom that is probably desperately in need of renovation to be bothered teaching your kids how to be gay. Please make a donation to Equality California, the group charged with running the counter-ads to the Mormons and Dobson's scare-ads.
I know things are hard these days, but even five or ten dollars from enough people can make a huge difference. Let's rest this state away from the Christian Crazies in Orange County and the Inland Empire once and for all. Jerking the gay community around like this is just cruel and mean-spirited. This is California, not Kansas. Let's show 'em how to do the "live and let live" thing.
*This is not merely hyperbolic. I actually heard a group of Inland Empire Baptists say they'd rather find out their children had cancer than were gay. The things people will say when asked....