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Sat

20

Feb

2010

NOMsense
Saturday, 20 February 2010 13:47
by Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D. 

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) was responsible for most of the propaganda that relied on stereotypes, scare tactics and outright lies to convince California voters to remove an existing civil right from some citizens:

PROPOSITION 8

ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME–SEX COUPLES TO MARRY.INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California. Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Summary of Legislative Analyst’s Estimate of Net State and Local Government Fiscal Impact: Over the next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly from sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments.
In the long run, likely little fiscal impact on state and local governments.
Prop 8 is back in the courtroom. Its constitutionality is being challenged. Both parties have made their cases, but something new has been added outside the courtroom. The February 7, 2010 edition of The San Francisco Chronicle featured this story:

Judge being gay a nonissue during Prop. 8 trial

Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross

The biggest open secret in the landmark trial over same-sex marriage being heard in San Francisco is that the federal judge who will decide the case, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, is himself gay.

Many gay politicians in San Francisco and lawyers who have had dealings with Walker say the 65-year-old jurist, appointed to the bench by President George H.W. Bush in 1989, has never taken pains to disguise – or advertise – his orientation.

They also don't believe it will influence how he rules on the case he's now hearing – whether Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure approved by state voters to ban same-sex marriage, unconstitutionally discriminates against gays and lesbians. …

"He has a private life and he doesn't conceal it, but doesn't think it is relevant to his decisions in any case, and he doesn't bring it to bear in any decisions," said the judge, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the Prop. 8 trial. …

He [the unnamed judge] said it was hard to ignore the irony that "in the beginning, when (Walker) sought to be a judge, a major obstacle he had to overcome was the perception that he was anti-gay." … Walker, by the way, didn't seek out the Prop. 8 case – it was assigned to him at random.

If the judge decides that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional, supporters of the measure are sure to take it to the federal appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary. Kendell expects that if that happens, the measure's proponents will make an issue of the judge's sexual orientation – at least in the public arena. Not so, said Andy Pugno, general counsel for the group that sponsored the Prop. 8 campaign.

"We are not going to say anything about that," Pugno said. …

But it seems Mr. Pugno’s subsequent comments – “He [Mr. Pugno] was quick to assert, however, that Prop. 8 backers haven't gotten a fair shake from Walker in court” – served to ignite NOM and formed the basis of their most recent propaganda… “in the public arena.” And, of course, Peter LaBarbera, a pathetic man who has dedicated his life to demeaning, denigrating and fostering bigotry and hatred of gays, also quickly made the judge’s sexual orientation “an issue.” How appropriate LaBarbera’s Americans for Truth About Homosexuality website has this disclaimer: “CAUTION: This website contains information not suitable for children.” True. No “child” or anyone with any sense of decency should be exposed to LaBarbera’s venomous rhetoric.

Jennifer Vanasco, editor in chief at 365gay.com, made the only appropriate assessment of the non-issue issue in her February 9, 2010 article “NOM says gay Prop 8 judge is biased” (which also contain the text of NOM’s letter):

If sexual orientation automatically creates a bias within a judge that cannot be overcome, then we literally can’t have any rulings on gay marriage – because either the judge will be gay or bisexual and thus biased, or the judge will be straight, and thus – biased.

Gayness simply doesn’t make someone less able to reason. It doesn’t make someone less objective. It doesn’t make someone more emotional or less logical. Just as no one expects a judge to be automatically recused from an affirmative action case because he’s black or white, so in this case sexual orientation has no bearing on Walker’s judging.

NOM doesn’t understand that someone’s sexual orientation has no bearing on their ability to do their job. But that doesn’t mean the judge is biased. It means NOM is. 

Perhaps the most preposterous part of all this was the salutation Brian S. Brown,
Executive Director of NOM, used in his letter to supporters: “Dear Friend of Marriage…”

Mr. Brown, NOM, and its supporters are definitely NOT “friends of marriage.” They are opponents of equality and marriage, both as a meaningful concept and as a state-sanctioned, civil institution. But they are friends and supporters of discrimination and, of course, “fund-raising”:

Maggie Gallagher [a founder of NOM] Gets Put on Blast: 42% of Donations Go in Her Pocket

Antigay Group Hiding Mormon Cash?

Iowa Officials Question NOM

Iowa and Maine question National Organization for Marriage’s funding sources

National Organization for Marriage–Big $ to Bash Gays & Gay Marriage, but Not a Dime to Defend Marriage & Fathers' Rights
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