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In Washington State, echoes of Proposition 8
June 2, 2009 12:24 AM   Subscribe

In September of 2004, a Superior Court in Washington state ruled the state's 1998 "Defense of Marriage" act unconstitutional, a ruling which would have allowed the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In 2006, the state Supreme Court issued in an opinion in Andersen v. King County overturning the lower court's ruling, noting "that our decision [pdf] is not based on an independent determination of what we believe the law should be." The legislature, in response, created the state-registered domestic partnership in 2007, expanding many (but not all) marriage-related rights to same-sex couples. Last month, a new law expanded the partnership to cover the remaining rights, creating an "all-but-marriage" partnership.

This year, the Washington Values Alliance has filed Referendum 71, which would put this expansion to a ballot vote. The referendum will need 120,000 signatures to make it to the ballot. WhoSigned.org intends to make these signatures searchable. Predictably, this is creating some controversy.

In the meantime, Referendum 71 doesn't seem to be finding much support from likely allies. If it does make it to the ballot, voters hoping to maintain rights for same-sex couples should vote yes to uphold the law as signed. Confused? The Secretary of State's office understands.

Bonus Washington state ballot item: Initiative 957 (which never made it to the ballot) would have required couples to procreate within three years of marriage or face annulment.
posted by 0xFCAF (114 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Serious question.

I live outside the US. I'm not a US citizen. Can I channel any money into a pro-71 initiative without getting the campaign organizers into legal trouble. I know interfering with another country's internal politics is a big taboo but I don't care. I watched the prop 8 decision get steamrolled by a bunch of out of state fundamentalist nutjobs. Can this social liberal nutjob give them a taste of their own medicine?
posted by Talez at 12:40 AM on June 2, 2009


Serious answer.

No. Thank you. Your job is to worry about Australia's problems.
posted by codswallop at 1:14 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Uh Talez, unless I'm misreading the post or your comment, regardless of campaign finance issues from international lands, the last thing you'd want to do is funnel money into a pro-71 initiative. The pro-71 group are the right-wing nutjob "Christians" who want the legislature's duly-enacted law to be put to a vote in the hopes it'll be defeated at the ballot box and thus remove these quantified rights of gay partners. In other words, when the courts decide the law's interpretation doesn't suit them (by benefiting teh gheys) they rage about judicial activism. When the legislature then passes a law in response to clarify the situation- which is pretty much as the Constitutions describe the proper function of things- the psycho-religious fucktards push for an Initiative. Should the initiative fail to gather signatures or fail to pass, I'm sure they'll then push for the courts to rule for a state-wide Defense of Marriage bullshit.

In any case, that very confusion of voting no on 71 if it gets on the ballot is the subject of the last paragraph of the OP, and why sane decent people in Washington should want I-71 to fail to get signatures and thus not put a confusing mess of double negatives on the ballot. Or barring that, for it to get on the ballot then fail by an immense popular margin.
posted by hincandenza at 1:15 AM on June 2, 2009


I call Witch Hunt on both sides.
posted by vapidave at 1:25 AM on June 2, 2009


Predictably, this is creating some controversy.

Bigots reap what they sow. It's ironic that they are scared to have their names released, when they are the same ones who have no problem using the government to interfere in the private lives of others.

If you're one of these bigots, no one should feel sympathy for your plight. If you really believe that two people can't enter into a consensual relationship, then be prepared to have your own life intruded upon. Tough nuts.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:31 AM on June 2, 2009 [9 favorites]


Washington Values Alliance

Funny how organizations with the word "Values" in the name usually don't have any.
posted by DreamerFi at 1:44 AM on June 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


Yeah. I didn't hear the "value voters" protest when Operation Rescue (or some of their ilk) published the names and adresses of ob/gyn who practiced abortions. This liberal atheist can be quite ok with a Christian "you reap what you sow".
posted by vivelame at 1:48 AM on June 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


The prop would be whether to approve the law so you'd want to vote "approve". That to me would be pro-71.

Here's to it not even making it to the ballot box. Reading that blog post it seems like the Christian elite know their time is fast coming to an end. People don't seem to care about the "damn queers" now that easy money and low unemployment have evaporated. It's almost like people are too tired to hate.
posted by Talez at 1:57 AM on June 2, 2009


Bigots reap what they sow. It's ironic that they are scared to have their names released, when they are the same ones who have no problem using the government to interfere in the private lives of others.

Wrong (and that doesn't even make sense but it's late so whatever).

What is ironic* here is that each group is trying to violate the others rights in the name of preserving their (as they perceive them) own.

*and any number of pejoratives
posted by vapidave at 2:02 AM on June 2, 2009


People don't seem to care about the "damn queers" now that easy money and low unemployment have evaporated.

Too tired to hate homosexuals, maybe. But immigrants? It's spankin' season.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:03 AM on June 2, 2009


Wrong (and that doesn't even make sense but it's late so whatever).

It's not hard: If your privacy is important to you, don't violate others' privacy. Otherwise, you don't have much to complain about.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:06 AM on June 2, 2009


Um, if you vote FOR the referendum, you support the rights of homosexuals. The WhoSigned.org people are against Referendum 71.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:15 AM on June 2, 2009


... wait a minute. No, I've got that wrong.

Jesus democracy is complicated. Bring on the magocracy! Wizards in charge of everything.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:20 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Alright, since the wizards won't be forthcoming any time soon, what I'm gathering is this: even though the legislative body of elected officials voted this measure into law already, people can organize a referendum to drag the law into limbo whilst another referendum is conducted on the law itself which, if passed, would put the law up to a ballot vote. Am I following this right?

I realize ballots are secret, but I have a hard time understanding why a list of signatures on a referendum should be. If you're going to insist in pulling a law off the books that elected officials already passed, causing unnecessary expenditure of time and money, I think the least you can do is raise your hand and say, "Yeah, that's me. That's what I want to do."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:33 AM on June 2, 2009


Yep, this *is not* the ballot box.
posted by vivelame at 2:35 AM on June 2, 2009


Am I following this right?

And no, I'm not - I added an extra step. The referendum, if it reaches its signature goal, would put the already-existing law up to a ballot vote. Right?

I'm sorry, that's stupid. Technically fully within your right in a democratic society and so forth but come on. You voted those guys who passed the law in. Don't like the law? Don't re-elect them. Tying up the legislature with this petty cultural war bullshit seems like a big waste to me.

It's sort of hard to organize people to not sign something though. If the referendum does get its goal, hopefully the progressive crowd will be able to organize enough votes to defeat the ballot measure.

I wonder how many of these guys so concerned about the sanctity of marriage would feel compelled to yank laws off the books that underspend on social family services and put increased spending up to a vote.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:57 AM on June 2, 2009


And by "defeat the ballot measure" I mean to vote for the law, and thereby defeat the whole point of putting the law up to popular vote in the first place.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:00 AM on June 2, 2009


The whole for/against thing is just a ploy by the signmaking lobby. Pretty soon medians and yards will be peppered with "Say yes to 71!" and "Say no to 71!" signs. Once there are enough signatures collected, all the pro-rights people will take down their "no" signs, all the anti-rights people will take down their "yes" signs, then they'll both go out and put up new signs that say "Vote no on 71!" and "Vote yes on 71!", respectively.
posted by 0xFCAF at 3:09 AM on June 2, 2009


Right so for those confused, there are two separate things: A) raise 121k signatures, each of which will be public record. Sensible people should be against this, i.e. refuse to sign if asked. If and only if A succeeds then B) a formal yes/no vote on the ballot which sensible people should vote YES on in order that the equal rights law continues to be in effect.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:25 AM on June 2, 2009


I despair for my state, sometimes. We can be so small-minded.

(I think my favorite example of this being the people who live on Hood Canal, a rapidly dying arm of Puget Sound [which itself is slowly dying] not permitting state researchers to flush dye into their septic systems so they could track the leaks which are killing animal life. The end result was people so upset that they might have to spend a bit of money to put in a decent septic system that they'd rather their waterfront homes faced a stretch of sound which has nothing alive in it--soon there will be no fishing, no clamming, not even water skiing because fecal bacteria levels are always too high. But, damn, they showed them enviro-libs good!)
posted by maxwelton at 3:27 AM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Washington Values Alliance

My values are based on treating other people decently. And guacamole.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:17 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's not hard: If your privacy is important to you, don't violate others' privacy. Otherwise, you don't have much to complain about.

EXACTLY

But who goes first?

Because this victimier-than-thou needs to stop. No one owes anyone anything.*

I'm serious. Which group extends the hand of peace to the other first? Both believe.

I know which I think should and I have some simple theories about why but my being convinced of my beliefs doesn't settle the debate and having no respect perpetuates it.

So, honestly, is the cost of lowering yourself to the level of your adversary going to yield a benefit?

Be sophisticated: Slavery in the United Stated wasn't "ended" by an appeal to end slavery, it was ended, or at least truncated and slowed, by an appeal to "preserve the union".
I'm 45, when I was a kid Ricky couldn't even climb atop Lucy on TV. Now Ricky can climb on Ricky on TV.

Relax. Whether you are outraged or not, in fact despite your outrage, MTV will fix this.

*Not true, I owe Bev almost $500, but by agreement.
posted by vapidave at 4:26 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Great, Courtney Love is going to vote to ban same-sex marriages... again.
posted by PenDevil at 4:36 AM on June 2, 2009


I have to say, I'm always a bit lost on the thinking.

Family values types tend to promote marriage as the bedrock of stability and an answer to promiscuity. The also dislike teh gays for being [i.e. perceived by them to be] promiscuous. So the answer is clearly to... not allow teh gays to formalise their partnerships.

It just seems to me come down to the central idea that if enough roadblocks are placed in their way, somehow people will stop being gay. Or, I suppose, obviously gay.

I don't have a particular problem on these people's names being published. If democracy has to function well, it has to function transparently.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:47 AM on June 2, 2009


Did the gays reach to anti-8 terror squads? Do we expect that they will here? If you want to find some homophobes, you don't need the list, just turn on AM radio. The worst I recall was boycotts. I wish that all the jerks I do business would put themselves on a list of jerks.

Don't want to be on a list? Don't add your name to one.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:00 AM on June 2, 2009


vapidave: "my being convinced of my beliefs doesn't settle the debate"

This may change MetaFilter as we know it.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:20 AM on June 2, 2009


OK.
Slavery is democratic. If in some imaginary country of 3 the other 2 vote me a slave that is democratic.
Private ballots and booths work against mobs. It's where you can dissent and count.
posted by vapidave at 5:38 AM on June 2, 2009


It is difficult for me to comprehend that this is even an issue. The existing law does not allow homosexuals to get married, it just extends the rights of marriage to same sex partnerships. It does not impinge on the 'sanctity' of marriage. I hope this exposes the anti-gay marriage crowd as the bunch of hypocrites they are.

I would love to see ballot initiatives in all states that allow for the extension of marriage rights to same sex couples without actually calling it marriage. I realize this is difficult to implement on a practical level, but I think it will demonstrate to the people on the fence that the anti-gay marriage crowd cares not for the sanctity of marriage, only the oppression of the ghey.

On a side note, could someone please explain to me (in layman's legalesse) how the courts have not required that same sex couples be given the rights of married couples. It is truly outrageous. Isn't it plainly about fundamental rights? As in one group has rights, while another is denied those same rights.
posted by batou_ at 5:41 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh and back on point, I do not think these name should be public record. Would you want your name to go on file for supporting a controversial ballot initiative? Especially if it were a very liberal position and you lived in a very conservative, rural area.
posted by batou_ at 5:45 AM on June 2, 2009


For the record.
My comments were addressing one particular subissue as stated above.

It's not hard: If your privacy is important to you, don't violate others' privacy. Otherwise, you don't have much to complain about.
posted by vapidave at 5:53 AM on June 2, 2009


Funny how organizations with the word "Values" in the name usually don't have any.
posted by DreamerFi at 1:44 AM on June 2 [3 favorites +] [!]


Nah you got it wrong. "Values" means that they have an agenda to push.

I think Batou has it right. This is oppression of a section of our society by another section. I might not be a 100% supporter but in America everyone is equal. People have fought and died to preserve that right. Everyone should be able to get their slice of the pie. And yes right wing nut jobs that includes "teh gheys."
posted by Mastercheddaar at 6:00 AM on June 2, 2009


Private ballots and booths work against mobs. It's where you can dissent and count.

But this isn't about the voting booth or ballot. It's about a petition to put a referendum up for vote. Why would the names on a petition like this be private? Almost nothing in the political process is private, except for what you do in the voting booth. This works against corruption, which we don't have much of anymore precisely because much of the process of legally so transparent.
posted by rtha at 6:08 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't for the life of me figure out why posting an open list of signatories to a petition to change the laws of an entire state is a bad thing. Jeez, those pointless online petition sites do that inherently.

And I really fail to see how it's anything like the anti-choice lunatics who post home addresses, pictures, etc., with clear intent to harass and intimidate. Identifying a name and city, etc. of a signatory is about even with identifying the name of people who make political donations. In addition, given that I totally support the EFCA, suddenly being against open petitioning would seem a bit hypocritical.

With this specific example, though, demanding privacy is ludicrous. If you're signing a petition to bring an issue to the state ballot, you're not only suggesting you personally would like to vote for the initiative, you are quite clearly advocating that several thousand more people be allowed to do the same. Signing the petition is itself an act of campaigning. I'm certainly not going to object to asking state residents to openly identify themselves as supportive of putting a vote on the ballot...

...with the exception, of course, that I think the ballot initiative process itself is an abhorrent and mob-rule-based concept completely antithetical to republican democracy in America. But that's another issue in itself.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:09 AM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


I forgot: Initiative 957 (which never made it to the ballot) would have required couples to procreate within three years of marriage or face annulment.

I love this idea. In reality, I'm pretty against stunt initiatives/props like this - the political process is clogged and stupid enough as it is - but it would give me great joy to see an initiative like this paired with one that denies couples the right to marry at all unless they agree to not get divorced (exceptions are made in cases of spousal or child abuse only). That's values!
posted by rtha at 6:13 AM on June 2, 2009


(Side note: when are gay rights advocates going to smarten up and seize the "protect marriage" slogan for themselves? When you're giving the right to marry, and other people are trying to take that right away, you're the group that needs to protect your marriages)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:14 AM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


signing a petition for a referendum is a public act, not a private one - if the names of those who signed were not available, then it would be difficult for those opposed to verify that the signatures were genuine and of those entitled to sign
posted by pyramid termite at 6:19 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Someone tell me what the purpose of a "searchable" signature is please.
posted by vapidave at 6:25 AM on June 2, 2009


We skipped all the publishing bit here in California and gave all the bigots yellow "Yes on 8" stickers for their SUVs.
posted by Big_B at 6:33 AM on June 2, 2009


Oh and back on point, I do not think these name should be public record. Would you want your name to go on file for supporting a controversial ballot initiative? Especially if it were a very liberal position and you lived in a very conservative, rural area.

This isn't the ballot box. AFAIK, signatures for ballot petitions have always been publically-accessible, just not necessarily via an online database. This is more akin to publishing a list of donors to a political campaign than it is to violating the sanctity of the ballot box. If you don't want your name on the list, don't put it on the list. Plain and simple. Otherwise, it is accessible to anyone who chooses to jump through whatever hoops apply in the given jurisdiction to secure a copy of the list, just as it's always been, only this guy wants to significantly reduce the number of hoops.

I've signed political petitions knowing full well that it made my support or opposition of the relevant issue public knowledge. While I wouldn't be thrilled to have my home address available online in conjunction with that, I am aware it's a risk I take when signing.
posted by notashroom at 6:42 AM on June 2, 2009


Someone tell me what the purpose of a "searchable" signature is please.

To confirm your suspicions that your neighbor/boss/colleague/child's soccer coach is a bigoted asshole?

Okay, that's a bit of a stretch. I've signed multiple petitions for legislative initiatives raising issues that I strongly disagreed with (and told the person holding the clipboard that I planned on voting against them if they went to a vote) because I thought it was fair that they be put to a vote and felt confident that they'd be shot down and more or less be put to rest. I'd have no problem with anyone finding my name on a list that said as much, even if it put me in the awkward position of having to explain my point of view to an angry friend.

However, these were instances where an issue hasn't *already been decided* by the legislature.
posted by Ufez Jones at 6:45 AM on June 2, 2009


pyramid:

Presumably it is the governments responsibility to verify the signatures.


I don't understand the legal aspects of this, but on a practical level one needs to consider what one would do if you were asked to sign an initiative that was unpopular in your local area. Would you side with your conscious or would you be more concerned about the harassment (or worse) you and your family might receive if your neighbors saw your name on the list.

While this particular case may be an exception, it seems to me exposing these names is a victory for the tyranny of the majority.
posted by batou_ at 6:49 AM on June 2, 2009


... If you sign the referendum to overturn the expansion of same-sex partnership rights in Washington, you can expect to have your name posted online so you can be contacted by gay rights advocates. ...

Just what sort of "contact" are we talking about? Postcards and brochures, fine. Phone calls and doorstep visits, not. Tactics that could be cast as "voter intimidation" would be a very bad idea.
posted by Carol Anne at 6:50 AM on June 2, 2009


Postcards and brochures, fine

Dear Neighborhood Bigot, I am writing to you today in regard....
posted by MuffinMan at 7:07 AM on June 2, 2009


Would you side with your conscious or would you be more concerned about the harassment (or worse) you and your family might receive if your neighbors saw your name on the list.

Standing up for what you truly believe is just takes courage, but it's the only way we can progress as a society. It's awfully sad - not to mention a pretty sorry picture of democracy - that people would fear retribution for (peacefully and legally) expressing their beliefs.
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:10 AM on June 2, 2009


Oh and back on point, I do not think these name should be public record. Would you want your name to go on file for supporting a controversial ballot initiative? Especially if it were a very liberal position and you lived in a very conservative, rural area.

Yes.

Why wouldn't I? If I didn't I wouldn't sign the petition.

We're facing something similar in Maine. We just passed an equal marriage law and now it faces "the people's veto" - if enough signatures of registered voters (about 55,000) can be gathered by September 15th, the law will go on the ballot to be voted on, presumably in the Fall, (but depending on timing of things maybe not until later - I don't understand all the deadlines exactly). If not enough signatures are certified by the deadline, the law goes into effect.

After I voted last November there was a table with th folks from Equality Maine asking people to sign a petition in support of equal marriage. I was thrilled to step right up and sign - I didn't care who saw, and I presume the petition is on file somewhere with my name on it. Good.

In my area there is not 100% support for this law, but I don't care if my name neighbors find out my views. Why should I? If some decide to be jerks about then I now know who the jerks are. Such useful information is a plus in my books.

or would you be more concerned about the harassment (or worse) you and your family might receive if your neighbors saw your name on the list.

I can deal with harassment while standing up for what I believe in. Any "or worse" gets reported to the police, who do a great job around here.
posted by mikepop at 7:20 AM on June 2, 2009


Presumably it is the governments responsibility to verify the signatures.

i don't trust the government to do so and neither should you - this should be a transparent process and it's only transparent if anyone can verify them
posted by pyramid termite at 7:23 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


But who goes first?

How about the ones setting up the hate petition? That sounds reasonable and fair, to my ears.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:26 AM on June 2, 2009


http://whosigned.org/ is what then?

How about reasonable people from each side tell the unreasonable to go stow themselves?
posted by vapidave at 7:32 AM on June 2, 2009


Knowthyneighbor.org has done similar work to these whosigned folks.
posted by box at 7:32 AM on June 2, 2009


HATE!

The Manson Family Value
posted by nomisxid at 7:36 AM on June 2, 2009


Would you side with your conscious or would you be more concerned about the harassment (or worse) you and your family might receive if your neighbors saw your name on the list.

While I doubt that an expose-the-vote campaign would do anything to dissipate die-hards, if I were a casual supporter on either side, I would decline to sign anything at all. My marginal contribution to any ballot as one signature is not enough to offset the possible annoyance of involvement here, especially with extremists on both sides. If that's what this organization intends to accomplish, then kudos, job well done: You've turned off the casual voter.
posted by gushn at 7:56 AM on June 2, 2009


Alright, since the wizards won't be forthcoming any time soon, what I'm gathering is this: even though the legislative body of elected officials voted this measure into law already, people can organize a referendum to drag the law into limbo whilst another referendum is conducted on the law itself which, if passed, would put the law up to a ballot vote. Am I following this right?

Well, when you ask the question at 5am Seattle time, it's a little hard for us to answer....

In Washington, citizens have the right to put any law passed by the legislature in that year's session on the ballot, so long as they collect enough signatures equal to a percentage of the previous general election's turnout before a deadline in July. If they manage to get enough signatures, the referendum is put on the ballot in November of that year, with a YES vote overturning the law and a NO vote affirming the law. (The "YES means NO" part always causes confusion, of course.)

This has happened every few years. I think the last time we voted on something the building industry hated.

But this time around, no only are they getting little support in getting it on the ballot, they're also going to have to fight demographics, mainly that since this is an off-year election most of the state won't be normally voting... except Seattle, which will be having its municipal elections. My guess is that a lot of these organizations who are eschewing R-71 are hoping they can get an initiative to overturn the domestic partnership law on the ballot in 2010 instead, which will take more signatures but whose deadline isn't until July of next year.
posted by dw at 8:00 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


And I can't believe the poster left off the best detail of the R-71 fiasco.

In Washington, you MUST put the entire bill that is up for referendum on the petition, and it must be legible.

SB 5688 is 114 pages long.

I can't find the link now, but someone calculated that even at 3pt you'd be looking at a sheet of paper bigger than 11x17 just to get the bill on -- and no room for any signatures.
posted by dw at 8:05 AM on June 2, 2009


Oh and back on point, I do not think these name should be public record. Would you want your name to go on file for supporting a controversial ballot initiative?

This is the purpose of the whole signature-gathering part of the ballot initiative process, though. If you can't get 121,000 people to put their names down and say "yes, this is something I support, I believe in this," then it shouldn't go on the ballot.

The entire point is to keep ballot initiatives that are totally out of line from community norms from making it to the voting booth.

To pass an initiative, you have to have a certain number of people who are willing to go on record as supporting it, and then you have to put it to a secret ballot vote. It's a check-and-balance situation; the open signature process keeps initiatives that reasonable, decent people would be ashamed to have done in their name from moving forward, and then the secret ballot makes sure that a majority (or 2/3rds, or whatever the standard happens to be) of people really and truly want it.

Ballot initiatives are designed as a frankly populist tool, as a cudgel that voters can use when they're not satisfied with what their representatives are doing or have done. They should be intentionally difficult to pass, and go through only when there is widespread public support. It is not a method by which a small minority ought to be able to put one over on the public and bypass the legislative branch. That ballot initiatives are frequently used for that purpose is a bug, not a feature.

If someone comes up to you with a petition and asks for your signature, you should think hard about whether you really want to have your name associated with the petition, and whether it's really something that you support. If it's not, if you're not sure about it, don't sign the damn petition.

It's entirely reasonable to support a petition in the abstract but not want to sign because it's controversial. (Cowardly, perhaps, but reasonable.) That's why we have representative government and not direct democracy, and why ballot initiatives are an exception rather than the rule.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:07 AM on June 2, 2009 [7 favorites]


You've turned off the casual voter.

What? Because your name on a petition is public record, you're not going to go to the voting booth? That makes no sense. Or am I misunderstanding you?

I'll admit that I don't sign put-it-on-the-ballot petitions here in California, not because I'm afraid of having my name on a publicly available list, but because the initiative/proposition process in this state has done more to completely fuck up the legislative process than anything I can think of. If the thing makes it onto the ballot, yeah, I vote, but I'm not going to help it get there.
posted by rtha at 8:13 AM on June 2, 2009


I would love to see ballot initiatives in all states that allow for the extension of marriage rights to same sex couples without actually calling it marriage.

This.

I was having an unexpectedly heated discussion with my (moderate democrat) father about the Gay Marriage, and his sticking point was the word "marriage." He fully acknowledged that gay unions should have every right that hetero ones do, but just couldn't square it with his religious beliefs to call it marriage, and was frustratingly stubborn in refusing to see the difference between civil and religious marriage.

he asked me, "why if they have all the rights, do they need to insist on calling it marriage?" And of course I immediately pointed out that seperate but equal is never really equal, that southern states in banning marriage have often banned any recognition of any gay unions, and that stubbornly refusing to give equality over fucking word choice is profoundly pendantic and stupid.

It was only later that I thought, "you know what, fine. Keep your word, if my gay friends can have all the rights." I'd wager a large number of "anti gay marriage" folks don't actually think the specific rights should be denied gay couples, or know that they are actually voting for that. If we can reframe it, instead of "equality now," "hospital visitation rights now" or "shared health insurance now," we might have more traction in the short term.

because at the end of the day, it is actually about the rights, yeah? the more boring, banal, the better. remember, it was mainly Dubya and Rove who pushed this issue into the foreground back into 2004 as a wedge issue. Perhaps if states had been able to quietly extend rights without much hoopla, we'd be further along today.
posted by ScotchRox at 8:13 AM on June 2, 2009


batou_: I would love to see ballot initiatives in all states that allow for the extension of marriage rights to same sex couples without actually calling it marriage. I realize this is difficult to implement on a practical level, but I think it will demonstrate to the people on the fence that the anti-gay marriage crowd cares not for the sanctity of marriage, only the oppression of the ghey.

It's all a great idea, on paper anyway. Maybe you should read what New Jersey concluded after examining its own "separate but equal" gay partnership program. (safe PDF download)

Separate yes, equal no.
posted by hippybear at 8:14 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


What? Because your name on a petition is public record, you're not going to go to the voting booth? That makes no sense. Or am I misunderstanding you?

It's not just boring old public record on some obscure .gov: Groups are shining undue attention on this. It won't be long before names and addresses are plastered on some google maps mashup hawked around by all sorts of crazies. Plenty of people who aren't strongly moved in one direction or another will say, "Thanks, but no thanks."
posted by gushn at 8:31 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the link, hippybear. Will forward to my frustrating father.
posted by ScotchRox at 8:32 AM on June 2, 2009


I love this idea. In reality, I'm pretty against stunt initiatives/props like this - the political process is clogged and stupid enough as it is - but it would give me great joy to see an initiative like this paired with one that denies couples the right to marry at all unless they agree to not get divorced (exceptions are made in cases of spousal or child abuse only). That's values!

There was a lot of sentiment around here that this would have blown up in the faces of gay marriage supporters. Once the law was in effect it would have pissed off all the married but childless folk who are traditionally urban and liberal, done nothing to married with children folk who are traditionally suburban and more conservative, and meant younger people wouldn't have married anyway asking what the big deal about marriage was. So, anger your traditional base while doing nothing to your traditional opponents, all while the younger generation is indifferent to the claims because they don't do it themselves. Six and a half years of that and BAM! different marriage forever.

Thus, it died a quick and quiet death, and no one's suggested it again.
posted by dw at 8:36 AM on June 2, 2009


I would love to see ballot initiatives in all states that allow for the extension of marriage rights to same sex couples without actually calling it marriage.

Separate but equal is not equal. There really is no negotiation on that point. Your own courts made that clear in Brown v.

How about reasonable people from each side tell the unreasonable to go stow themselves?

You're making the fatal flaw of thinking there are any reasonable anti-equality folks. There are none, same as there were no reasonable people opposing desegregation. The very fact of opposing equality shows one's utter lack of reason.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:37 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


While I doubt that an expose-the-vote campaign would do anything to dissipate die-hards, if I were a casual supporter on either side, I would decline to sign anything at all.
So don't. Nothing personal but democrats, in the strictest sense, would like you to vote.

This is the purpose of the whole signature-gathering part of the ballot initiative process, though.
Actually, the exact opposite is true. Do you honestly believe the purpose is to name names?

You want to be special, fuck you.

You are just above average.

I'm a bit below.
posted by vapidave at 8:48 AM on June 2, 2009


ScotchRox: The problem with that whole formulation, is that "marriage" has some very specific legalese associated with it, of which the most critical is that it's a legal arrangement that's understood by most governments and across most jurisdictions.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:00 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also that pesky 'Separate but equal is not equal' thing, which kinda matters to us.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:13 AM on June 2, 2009


Hippybear, I realize that "separate but equal" is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction. And again, this would show the more moderate anti-gay marriage crowd and the fence sitters that these groups are AGAINST RIGHTS for homosexuals. It could help reframe the debate.

Ufez Jones, Sure standing up for what you believe in takes courage. But not everyone is so courageous. Does this mean their opinion is less important.
posted by batou_ at 9:15 AM on June 2, 2009


Hippybear, I realize that "separate but equal" is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction.

Here's a time machine. The 50's would like a word.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:20 AM on June 2, 2009


gushn, there already is such a thing. I can't cut and paste on this thing, but precisely such a map was created post-prop 8, with the names and locations of prop 8 donors. Far as I know, nothing's happened. It is public record, and I still don't see why it's bad to make public records accessible. As I said in a different thread, I can get the same info by driving around and seeing who's got yard signs in front of their house, after all.
posted by rtha at 9:20 AM on June 2, 2009


dirtynumbangelboy - Again, passing a seperate but equal law would be a step. Is it the final step? Of course not. However, over the course of history do these types of cultural changes happen all at once or in steps. Is this not the case of good being the enemy of perfect?
posted by batou_ at 9:21 AM on June 2, 2009


It's true that separate but equal is a step. But it's an immoral, not to mention unconstitutional, step.
posted by rtha at 9:28 AM on June 2, 2009


dirtynumbangelboy - Again, passing a seperate but equal law would be a step. Is it the final step? Of course not.

"You got your own schools. You don't need to go to school with the white folks."
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:30 AM on June 2, 2009


ScotchRox has two daddies!
posted by Scoo at 9:34 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is it better than the current situation? Is it possible it would have the effect of allowing other people to see that same sex unions will not tear apart at the fabric of the country, bringing God's wrath down from the heavens?

The goal is: Marriage for any and everyone regardless of sexual persuasion. My question is: Will that goal be achieved faster on a national level by going for the throat? Or will it be achieved faster in a step-wise fashion?

All I am saying here is that I think the latter will get us to the goal faster.
posted by batou_ at 9:36 AM on June 2, 2009


dirtynumbangelboy, you reference the civil rights movement. Did we end up at the current situation (which is by no means perfect) all at once or were there a series of steps involved?
posted by batou_ at 9:38 AM on June 2, 2009


It means fighting the same battle over and over and over... let us have this right, and now this one, and now this... fuck that. We are equal and we will not be treated as second class. We will not accept the dregs from your cup. We demand to sit at the same table, with exactly the same rights. We will not accept anything less.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:45 AM on June 2, 2009


dirtynumbangelboy - You are an ass. I agree completely that gay marriage should be legal now, nationwide! We are on the same fucking side, but yet because I don't agree with you on how to about getting there you treat me as an enemy. Good luck.
posted by batou_ at 9:51 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


We will not accept anything less.

On a practical level, there are couples who need these rights right fucking now to get the health insurance they need to get important medical care, who need the ability to visit each other in the hospital, who need survivorship benefits, who need spousal privilege in court, who need community property laws protecting them. It's great to have ideals and demand full marriage rights right now, but idealism comes at a great practical cost to the couples whose rights would be delayed by a refusal to accept that some large societal changes have to happen incrementally.
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:52 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ufez Jones, Sure standing up for what you believe in takes courage. But not everyone is so courageous. Does this mean their opinion is less important.

When it's required that X number of people take a certain action in order to elicit a real change, then yes, in the legal sense it does.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:56 AM on June 2, 2009


ScotchRox: The problem with that whole formulation, is that "marriage" has some very specific legalese associated with it, of which the most critical is that it's a legal arrangement that's understood by most governments and across most jurisdictions.

Yeah, I totally understand that. What I'm looking for is a way to gain the support of people, like my dad, who will maddeningly agree with every. single. point. in favor of gay marriage, but get caught up by the damned word itself.

IIRC didn't even Sarah Palin say during the campaign "Well we don't want to deny people rights, but marriage is between a man and a woman..."?

I still feel like an extremely robust civil union law, that does provide ALL of the benefits of marriage to those in such a union (and don't tell me it isn't possible to write a law that way), would be damn near impossible to oppose without exposing the true bigotry at the root of these NOM type assholes.

Don't get me wrong, a basic fucking lesson in civics, on the difference between civil and religous marriage, would be ideal. but getting an actual reasoned debate on issues in this country isn't something I'm holding my breath for.
posted by ScotchRox at 10:09 AM on June 2, 2009


dw: If they manage to get enough signatures, the referendum is put on the ballot in November of that year, with a YES vote overturning the law and a NO vote affirming the law. (The "YES means NO" part always causes confusion, of course.)

dw, the second to last link, to the Secretary of State's blog says you have it exactly backwards.

Once the petition succeeds, voters at the polls vote the bill, as approved by the legislature and signed by the governor, up or down directly.
posted by SirNovember at 10:16 AM on June 2, 2009


batou_: Well, here is an alternate argument. Critically at question here is the issue of whether the equal protection clause of constitutions apply in regards to marriage. In the previous California Supreme Court precedent Marriage Cases the court ruled that it did, and last week it ruled that the equal protection clause still applied except in the very limited exception carved by Proposition 8.

The piecemeal approach undermines that by treating marriage as a mess of individual rights that must be independently defined and litigated. This has a number of consequences, The first is that every time a government body does something in regards to "marriage" it must also either explicitly do so in regards to "domestic partnership." The second is that it doesn't deal with the mess of case law in which domestic partnerships have ambiguous relationships with marriage. The third is that such rights are limited within a jurisdiction.

The end goal for marriage equality advocates is a clear and unambiguous statement that same-sex marriage is equal under the equal protection clause, and of course the end goal for same-sex marriage opponents is the insertion of constitutional language they can use to force a reconsideration of gay rights in their favor across the legal system.

ScotchRox: When you consider that traditional marriage supporters use these clauses as a springboard to attack a wide spectrum of gay rights, I think anyone who says that it's just about definitions and not rights is either fibbing or ignorant of the terms of the debate.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:20 AM on June 2, 2009


dirtynumbangelboy - You are an ass

I defer to your obvious expertise on the subject.

Thing is, you're obviously not gay, so you don't get on a gut level why this matters so much. Go back to the fifties and tell an African-American he should accept being in a segregated school, don't upset the whites. Go earlier, tell a woman she should be happy she gets to get out of the home; the 'incremental' change of getting to vote will come one day, no sense in rocking the boat.

Or be here today, tell queers we should be glad for what little we get, more will come one day, promise! Can't upset the fundamentalists...

Are you beginning to see yet why that not only doesn't work, but it is inherently demeaning for those of us for whim this matters on a deeply personal level?

but idealism comes at a great practical cost to the couples whose rights would be delayed by a refusal to accept that some large societal changes have to happen incrementally.


And once each increment becomes enshrined in law, we have to fight the exact same battle all over again to get the next one. Once upon a time, your courts had the balls to draw a line in the sand and end segregation--in one step. Now? Tyranny and discrimination get a free pass.

But, y'know, whatever. I live in a civilised country where we did go from 0-marriage, no messing about with increments. Perhaps one day you folk will, to use the words of one of your greatest, have the courage of your convictions.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:21 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


dw, the second to last link, to the Secretary of State's blog says you have it exactly backwards.

See? Confusing.
posted by dw at 10:27 AM on June 2, 2009


However, over the course of history do these types of cultural changes happen all at once or in steps?

Well, I think Brown v. Board Of Education and Loving v. Virginia sort of answer this question. The laws change suddenly, the public attitude changes slowly.

Look at every other example of integration in the 20th Century. ALL of them were enacted from on high, met with resistance from the general populace, and ultimately regarded as a good move. And I speak not only of education or interracial marriage laws, but also baseball, the military, etc.

If a minority waits for a majority to change its collective attitude before granting full rights to that minority, then blacks and women would still not have the vote today.
posted by hippybear at 10:35 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's not just boring old public record on some obscure .gov: Groups are shining undue attention on this. It won't be long before names and addresses are plastered on some google maps mashup hawked around by all sorts of crazies. Plenty of people who aren't strongly moved in one direction or another will say, "Thanks, but no thanks."
People who aren't strongly moved in one direction or another on an issue shouldn't be petitioning to override their duly and democratically elected officials on that issue.

Should they vote on it, if the petition gathers enough signatures? Sure. But that's a different matter entirely.
posted by Flunkie at 10:36 AM on June 2, 2009


I think anyone who says that it's just about definitions and not rights is either fibbing or ignorant of the terms of the debate.

Well, that's kind of the point. The "traditional marriage" coalition is currently made up of the liars and the ignorant. My hope would be to break that up, to expose the liars and educate the ignorant by changing the terms of the debate slightly:

"Fine, you don't want to change the defintion of marriage. why then do you oppose civil unions?"

If we can get to the point where those opposing gay marriage are simply in favor of civil unions instead, we'll be better off then we are today. and then the final push towards total equality will be that much better.

Your point on the legal ramifications of a piecemeal approach is certainly well taken though. I suppose what I'm talking about would best take the form of more of an educational campaign than a new strategem.

Once upon a time, your courts had the balls to draw a line in the sand and end segregation--in one step.


Brown V. Board of Education: 1954
Civil Rights Act: 1964

And things were not that pretty, race-wise, in 1964 either. Obviously, no-one should have to wait for equality, and it's bullshit that we even need to have a "gay marriage fight." But to describe to describe deep societal changes in America as incremental would indeed be accurate.
posted by ScotchRox at 10:43 AM on June 2, 2009


dirtynumbangelboy writes "Thing is, you're obviously not gay, so you don't get on a gut level why this matters so much."

How the hell do you assume I am gay or not? All gay people agree with you on this? Talk about bigoted. Either you agree with me or you are not gay. WTF!
posted by batou_ at 10:44 AM on June 2, 2009


That isn't what I said, batou, but nice try.

Let's try again without your dishonesty, shall we?

I said you don't get on a gut level why this matters so much. From every single comment here it's blindingly obvious you're not gay. If you are, sorry for the assumption, but I have to ask why you're interested in pandering to people who want to deny us rights and make us fight for every scrap we get.

You may believe in the importance, sure. But you just don't grok--oh how I hate that word--why it matters to those of us it actually directly affects.

But, y'know, you're having a lot more fun believing I've said things I haven't, so why don't you continue doing that over there in the corner while the grownups keep talking? There's a good lad.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:53 AM on June 2, 2009


If a minority waits for a majority to change its collective attitude before granting full rights to that minority, then blacks and women would still not have the vote today.

Very true. I'd love a court case to drag us forward. Unfortunately, we don't have the Warren Court to help us out today. Instead we have the Roberts court, with him, Scalia, Thomas and Alito, being almost assuredly "No" votes on an equal-protection case. That leaves our nation's course once again in the hands of Stevens, if you can even assume the votes from the left wing of the court.
posted by ScotchRox at 10:54 AM on June 2, 2009


Stevens has nothing to do with it. Kennedy's just as Catholic as the other four, so he'll vote it down.
posted by kafziel at 11:08 AM on June 2, 2009


Also from the slog, Dan Savage weighs in: The People I'm Persecuting Are So MEAN!
posted by 0xFCAF at 11:23 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


dirtynumbangelboy wrote:

I live in a civilised country where we did go from 0-marriage, no messing about with increments.

You should take a look at this timeline of homosexual rights in Canada. I think you'll see that the path to same sex marriage in Canada was not a single step. In particular, note that while the Canadian Supreme Court case M. v. H. in 1999 was a landmark decision - it only granted a limited set of rights to homosexual couples, those equivalent to common-law marriages. You can see here a list of provincial-level legislative steps prior to full legalization in 2003. Note Alberta's creation of a separate category for same-sex couples - "adult interdependent relationships" or Ontario's label of "same-sex partners".

I bet that if you'll look at every country where same-sex marriage is full legal, and equal, to heterosexual marriage, you will find a similar history of incremental steps towards full equality. This same process of gradually expanding rights for homosexuals is currently unfolding in the United States. While the goal remains full equality, given public attitudes and political realities in this country, it will not happen all at once, and to push too hard too fast risks devastating backlash. (In fact, we've already seen this happen. In response to the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling mandating same sex marriage in the US, almost thirty states passed constitutional amendments against it, making legalization much harder.)
posted by thewittyname at 11:51 AM on June 2, 2009


I love that Larry Stickney has been married three times. Such sanctity!
posted by maxwelton at 12:07 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


You should take a look at this timeline of homosexual rights in Canada.

I'm familiar. I was speaking to what they were talking about: legislated change. Laws have inertia; get an inch written in law and it becomes much harder to get an inch further.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:18 PM on June 2, 2009


thewittyname: The problem with the backlash myth is that it's just that, a myth. Advocates of it point to MA, marriage licenses in San Francisco, and Hawaii variously as sparking the backlash. In contrast, the first legislative actions against same-sex marriage started in the early 90s in response to private and civic domestic partnership agreements, before marriage was on the agenda in any jurisdiction. The "defense of marriage" fight was pretty explicitly in response to the willingness of some courts to consider same-sex partnerships equivalent in some ways. And when we look at how these measures are used to challenge domestic partnership benefits in Ohio, Michigan and to federal government employees, and to deny visitation rights in Florida, it's clear that it's not really about "marriage."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:31 PM on June 2, 2009


it's clear that it's not really about "marriage."

Precisely; it's punishment for being queer. They don't want to see us as being like them, or being given the legitimacy/power to have a voice in the world. Since queers skew left (mostly; perhaps I should say non-closeted non-self-loathing queers tend to skew left) we are a threat to conservative power and ideology. The same 'thinking' was behind denying suffrage to women, and emancipation and desegregation to blacks.

Basically it boils down to power, punishment for being 'other', and avoiding having to even entertain the idea that they might be wrong.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:41 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


And it's not an either/or situation here. It is entirely reasonable to say that both incremental nibbles towards marriage equality are good, while pointing out that reasonable interpretations of the constitution demand full equality. Either way, protecting this law from repeal by referendum strikes me as necessary.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:10 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


gushn: Groups are shining undue attention on this. It won't be long before names and addresses are plastered on some google maps mashup hawked around by all sorts of crazies.

In addition to what rtha has pointed out, your comment implies that the level of crazy is equivalent on both sides. Is that what you meant, that people who sign petitions against gay marriage will have good reason to fear harassment or violence from the other side if their names are made public?

Because there's plenty of evidence that LGBTs have good reason to fear harassment and violence from anti-gay crazies. Do "traditional" marriage supporters routinely read in the daily news about other "traditional" marriage supporters being targeted by groups of LGBTs for beatings? Killed by them? Discriminated against by LGBTs in positions of power?

No? Then the crazies are weighted more heavily on one side, and it's not the supporters of civil rights for LGTs.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:39 PM on June 2, 2009


LGBTs, rather
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:40 PM on June 2, 2009


KirkJobSluder: I don't dispute that there had been a long-running campaign against homosexual rights in the US dating to well before the MA Supreme Court ruling. However, it is hard to ignore the fact that in November 2004, a year after the Goodridge case, 11 states passed constitutional amendments banning same sex marriage (with 10 more by 2006), compared with only 4 states in all the years prior. Many factors contributed to this, but I remember how legalization in Massachusetts served as a rallying cry for conservative activists.

And you're right, it's not really about marriage - it's about keeping gays and lesbians in the closet and under control. I was just pointing out that taking the large step of legalizing SSM has triggered large-scale opposition, which has been, unfortunately, mostly successful in denying homosexuals equal protection under the law.
posted by thewittyname at 1:52 PM on June 2, 2009


thewittyname: The problem with that analysis is that dozens of states passed statutory restrictions on same-sex marriage before 2004, and many of the constitutional amendments you cite were in progress well before the MA decision came down.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:05 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Martin Luther King, Letter from Birmingham Jail:
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."
posted by kirkaracha at 2:12 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Of course, it's moot anyway as this isn't strictly about marriage. This particular referendum reveals that "defense of marriage" advocates are fibbing when they say it's not about rights.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:54 PM on June 2, 2009


"If you want to sign (Referendum 71), you have the right to sign that, but be aware there are probably people who live near you, people you know, who would want to come and talk to you about what that means to them."

Playing Devil's Advocate: If you don't want to sign 71, there are probably people who live near you, people you know, who would want to come and talk to you about what that means to them.

This is a conversation that has been had over and over again between advocates for and against gay marriage, and in no way does more transparency on the subject actually help anyone; rather it creates targets for pent up frustration and hostility.

On the other hand, private ballots are a fairly new invention and these petitions are part of the public record. You used to have to defend your ballot in public, having to defend yourself in private is a new twist, but politics has always been personal.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:07 PM on June 2, 2009


For the people leading the charge against equality it isn't about keeping gays under control. It's about keeping EVERYBODY under control.

By 1992 in America we had reached somewhat satisfactory compromises on most of the Big Issues. Most of the electorate agreed (or was too ashamed to PUBLICLY disagree) that: nuclear weapons; making black people ride the back of the bus; and polluting air and water; was Bad. So all that was left for the Right to get people fired up over were these moronic culture war (so-called) issues. Think about the burning issues of 1992? Flag burning for fuck sake. And then with Clinton OMFG TEH GAYS!

And the now the Queen Mother of Culture Warrior Issues: "Fags A-Git'n Married."

If it wasn't for Osama Bin Laden handing the mouth breathers eight years of fear to peddle they would have been shoveling ignorance and hate instead. Well fear is playing out. So all these culture warrior morons have is BUTTSECKS.

The only way the Right can keep their tenuous coalition of morons together (who all lost heart after a negro got his self elected president) and take back the White House is get the hate machine going strong. The Mormons, now wanting to enter this coalition of dunces as big time player, are supplying the template by getting these anti-gay measures on the ballots in the west coast. They are doing this so the the other evangelists in the coalition of dunces will finally stop calling Mormons "The Debbil" and will except them as fellow bigots at the big kids table. this all about the Right attempting to expand their bleeding coalition. And they will do this at the expense of the entire country if they have to.

but it won't work. As you can see the Right is falling apart. It would seem that people, as stupid as they are, are smart enough to understand what incompetent governance looks like and their memories are not as short as the GOP would like them to be. Most of the brain trust left the GOP hierarchy in 2004 and they running like rats deserting the Titanic ever since. The hilarity of them calling Obama and Sotomayor "The most Racist people in America" is so precious it's worthy of framing a picture of Limbaugh. So.. They gain a tiny coalition of bigots but loose the fasted growing demographic in the country - Latinos and Mexicans. YEAH! Way to go Micheal Steele!

Anyway. LSS. NOW is the time for Gay people to make their stand. Full equal rights. The opposition just won't be an weaker. In ten years the GOP won't even remember there was a thing called Gay Marriage.
posted by tkchrist at 3:26 PM on June 2, 2009


Wow, what a controversial idea, making public information public.

The People I'm Persecuting Are So MEAN!

And that pretty much nails it. Full support for WhoSigned.org here.
posted by mediareport at 4:13 PM on June 2, 2009


My prediction: petitions will be widely circulated in the eastern part of WA to get enough signatures to get on the ballot, and then all the effort for getting votes will be focused west of the Cascades, likely through the churches.

In other words, those of us in the east will get to enable the easily tapped bigotry of the population centers to the west.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I somehow doubt it.
posted by hippybear at 4:31 PM on June 2, 2009


My prediction: petitions will be widely circulated in the eastern part of WA to get enough signatures to get on the ballot, and then all the effort for getting votes will be focused west of the Cascades, likely through the churches.

They don't actually need 121K signatures but over 200K just to get to 121K valid signatures. The 114-page bill will have to appear in full on every single petition. They're getting no support from their traditional allies. The group trying to overturn this are seen as carpetbaggers. Tim Eyman isn't about to throw his network behind them when he has his own initiative and he doesn't want to infuriate his libertarian base.

And they have now less than 60 days thanks to all their dithering.

If it makes it to the ballot, it'll be a canonizing miracle.
posted by dw at 6:14 PM on June 2, 2009


Conservatives Warn: Quick Sex Change Only Barrier Between Gays, Marriage.

Oh noes!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:23 PM on June 2, 2009


If these were the names of people who voted on the issue this would be reprehensible. Hell, if it came out that that kind of information was being collected (I don't doubt that it is, really) that would be reprehensible on its own. That's not what we're dealing with here. Signing a petition is not a private act. It never has been and it never should be. That misses the point of a petition.

Public funds and employees aren't the one's counting heads for this one. To counteract this, the registrar of voters will be checking up randomly with the people who supposedly signed this thing to make sure that actual humans put ink to paper in support of its terms. What this means, of course, is that the identities of the people who signed this thing are a matter of public record, because representatives of the public are going to be checking up on the identities of the people who signed this.

I've signed a great minority of the petitions I've been presented with, but I would welcome a phone call from anyone who wished to understand my reasons for doing so. Not only that, but I have no qualms about letting my school or future employers know that I singed the damn thing. I felt strongly and was willing to take the relatively minor risk that someone might find out how I felt.

To put succinctly, if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen. The ballot box is for private reflection and never letting anyone know how you really went (although most people do, don't they?). If you can't afford to let people know that you signed a petition to get a measure/referendum/recall on the ballot then you have no business signing the damn thing. The whole point is that the only things worth voting on are the things that a substantial portion of the population were willing to stand up and say "yeah, I think this is a good idea."

That said, I can see the argument that the folks singing this weren't expecting to have their names posted on a website that, tonally speaking, paints them as bigots. I guess my response to that has to be, "tough shit." People have been signing petitions too cavalierly these days. If a little public shaming and mortification is what it takes to make people understand what "public" really means these days then I'm willing to accept that as collateral damage.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 4:05 AM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's true that separate but equal is a step. But it's an immoral, not to mention unconstitutional, step.

Make this argument to a court. Don't make this argument to an electorate, or you'll end up tearing your hair out.

I live in a civilised country where we did go from 0-marriage, no messing about with increments.

I think this is the part where I point out that the Netherlands legalized "registered partnerships" before legalizing same-sex marriage and was first to recognize the latter. Same-sex marriage was made legal in all of Canada by an SCC ruling. So much for "zero to marriage."
posted by oaf at 5:22 AM on June 3, 2009


Ack. Sorry. Provinces' highest courts (note that Alberta was AWOL on this issue).
posted by oaf at 5:24 AM on June 3, 2009


> Make this argument to a court. Don't make this argument to an electorate, or you'll end up tearing your hair out.

Well, yeah. MeFi doesn't "count" for me (sorry, y'all know what I mean!) as "the electorate," and I do think this particular part of the argument can be made/expanded on when you're talking directly with people you already know, but I wouldn't go shouting it from street corners.

So much for "zero to marriage."

I dunno. I understand that "zero to marriage" didn't happen exactly that way - there were intermediate steps, sort of - but it's not as if various provinces spent a lot of time and energy fighting to pass laws like DOMA before the Canada Supremes/relevant high courts stepped in. What's happening in the U.S. feels more like "zero to 60 to -75 to a little marriage over here, over there, but not over there."
posted by rtha at 5:58 AM on June 3, 2009


You just don't understand how the Bible defines marriage.
posted by caddis at 11:14 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


In an predictable followup to the whole "see who signed" controversy, an anti-gay employee at Seattle's City Light has filed suit to see the membership of the City Light employee GLBT group.
posted by nomisxid at 1:50 PM on June 11, 2009


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