No on Prop. 8 Campaign Reaches Out to Black Voters

As marriage equality opponents galvanized in the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles to target African-American voters, clergy members and other activists gathered just miles away to fight against California's upcoming ballot measure that would ban same-sex marriage.

BY Anne Stockwell

October 22 2008 11:00 PM ET

 The Reverend Vanessa Mackenzie, Church of the Advent X390 (PUBLICITY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Art Cribbs, pastor, San Marino Congregational
Church of Christ (San Marino, Calif.)

Just
demographically, I am straight, I am married, I am a father
of four children -- three girls and a son
-- and I oppose Proposition 8 for all of those
reasons. If I simply based my decision on TV commercials
I would be for Prop. 8, but those commercials lie. The info
that’s being presented on TV, even from a law
professor at Pepperdine University, are all based on
lies and not facts. First of all, this is not about children
and protecting children. The language in Proposition 8 that
is put on the ballot has to do with marriage of a man
and a woman.

I'm opposed to
Proposition 8 because it puts discriminatory language in
the California constitution. Although we have discriminated
against persons because they were Chinese, Japanese,
or Latino, we have not put discriminatory language in
the state constitution.

I personally
oppose Proposition 8 because I know what it feels like to
have someone else tell me who I should be married to. I know
the pain of that. I know the suffering that comes with
that, and I do not believe it is right for a third
party, detached and not involved, dictating who should
love whom and how that relationship should be formed.

Finally,
theologically, my faith tells me to treat people the way I
want to be treated, to do no harm to anyone. And I
have heard people say, "I am hurt by the language of
discrimination that is being proposed for the
California state constitution." If I don't want to feel
pain, I am obligated not to impose pain on someone
else.

The Reverend Vanessa Mackenzie, Church of the
Advent (Mid City district, Los Angeles)

I am an Episcopal
priest, and so I come to lend my voice and my heart and
my body to this question of justice. As you know, in South
Africa we had a constitution that began with the words
"In humble submission to almighty God," and they had
all these laws treating black people as subhuman and
degrading them and taking away their God-given image. All of
us are created in the image of God, and we reflect that
image. I moved to this country eight years ago, and I
am horrified that now they want to put in the
constitution that it is right to discriminate. I think
it’s important to understand that in the
struggle for justice we must be consistent.

One of the
important things for me is that God made us for
relationships. And in relationships, there are the
gifts of grace, of love, of patience, of kindness, of
gentleness, of perseverance, and no group has a monopoly
on that. It’s a God-given gift and it’s a
God-given right, and so I lift my voice.

Willie Pelote, assistant director of political
action, American Federation of State, County, and
Municipal Employees International

We represent
about 175,000 workers in the state of California, both in
the public and the private sector. I work with the people
behind Proposition 8, and when they come into the
legislature they talk about being "family first," but
when you look at their policies -- not to increase the
taxes to provide health care is the same as trying to
deny gays and lesbians in Prop. 8. Not to come forward to
make sure children of [temporary financial assistance
program] CalWorks have child care is the same thing
they're trying to deny gays and lesbians in Prop. 8.
My union was the first one to [back] a bill to make sure in
[the San Francisco Bay area's] San Mateo County that
domestic partners would have survivor benefits.
Proposition 8 would take that away.

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