the papers are obsessed with the issue. While it's
been expected that Californian publications would lean
heavily on the topic, as the state's Proposition 8
hangs in the balance, it's surprising to see
what one newspaper in a conservative area has
TheSalt Lake Tribune, the paper of record in the
Mormon state's capital, weighed in 15 times on the
issue. One columnist, Robert Kirby, who is Mormon, said "I Don't Care If Gays Get
Married" in a piece meant to satirize against Prop.
8: "Shouldn't it be against the law for stupid people
to get married? What's more harmful to society -- two
well-dressed men getting married and settling down, or
two idiots tying the knot and cranking out any number
of additional idiots?"
The Salt Lake
City paper also republished
an editorial from the
Los Angeles Times in its Opinion section, pointing out that the
fear-based ads pushing the idea that teachers would suddenly
be required to teach gay marriage in the classroom is
an outright lie, and that they are already
within their rights to use their judgment in
using classroom materials.
Times wrote: "It would be naive to
say that no California teacher will ever mention
homosexuality, or that SB 71 prevents all teachers,
elementary or otherwise, from reading 'King and King'
or similar books to their students, or telling them about
the history -- and existence -- of gay marriage.
Schools across the nation have done such things for
years, with or without legal recognition of gay
Another Salt Lake Tribune
article reported the last-minute withdrawal of
Utah-based Mormon volunteers for the California
initiative: "The church has since determined that such
phone calls are best handled by those who are
registered California voters." You think?
"It has tainted
everything for me," Oldham said, who was choking up
during her telephone interview with the Tribune.
"I am afraid to go there and hear people say mean
things about gay people. I am in mourning. I don't know
how long I can last."
In the swing
states, gay marriage is getting a lot of attention.
Florida Today of Brevard County ran five gay
marriage pieces; the state has an anti-gay marriage bill on
the ballots, Amendment 2. Like the Prop. 8 proponents,
the Florida anti-gay marriage movement is relying on
the false notion that schools will be teaching
children about gay marriage. [Payment is required to access this
Herald story examined a point made by opponents
of Florida's antigay ballot initiative:
Amendment 2 could actually endanger straight
domestic partnerships in addition to banning
gay partnerships. "They point to particular
wording in the amendment that they say could lead to
unmarried couples -- gay and straight -- losing
hospital visitation rights, the ability to make
emergency medical decisions, and domestic partner health
benefits provided by employers."
columnist put human faces to this problem in "
Amendment 2 Is a Threat to Unwed
Senior Couples": He interviewed several
longtime unmarried heterosexual couples -- some together 25
or 30 years -- whom the amendment would apparently
In Ohio, a story in TheCincinnati Enquirer, about Barack Obama's on-the-ground
grassroots organization there, reported how things
have changed from 2004, when President Bush pulled out
a win thanks to the state's
conservative voters: "Many Republican
strategists have credited that to the presence of the
ballot issue banning gay marriage in Ohio. It stirred
up the hundreds of thousands of evangelical Christian voters
in southwest Ohio like nothing else ever. And polls
showed that three of every four of them voted for
The article also
pointed out that while there's no gay marriage
initiative in Ohio this year, John McCain has an evangelical
calling card in Sarah Palin, not to mention the deep
organization of churchgoers throughout the state.
Citizens for Community Values has "printed up
hundreds of thousands of fliers on its Ohio Election Central
project -- fliers that can be stuffed easily into a
Sunday church bulletin -- and distributed them to
evangelical Christian churches all over Ohio,"
according to the Enquirer story, "along with a
three-minute video asking churchgoers to go to the CCV Web
site -- www.ohioelectioncentral.com -- for
nonpartisan, side-by-side comparisons of the
candidates' positions on abortion, immigration, marriage,
gambling and other issues important to social
Bush won by "a scant 118,601" votes statewide
four years ago, Ohio is still very much in play.
Nationally, the news came out that the
big Mormon donor to Prop. 8 is Alan Ashton of Lindon,
Utah. He donated a cool $1 million to the Yes on 8 campaign.
Also big news in terms of
publicity if not monetarily is the $15,000
donation to the Yes on Prop 8 by Jeff Kent of the
Los Angeles Dodgers. (Interestingly, he's quite
familiar with liberal cities: He's a resident
of Austin, Texas; became a star with the San
Francisco Giants; and is an alum of the University of
As for Arizona,
the Associated Press examined how
anti-gay marriage proponents there feel a 2006 election
failure helped them this year. Two years ago
they couldn't pass a state constitutional amendment
that would have extended banned unions to unmarried
straight couples and domestic partners. Its 2008
counterpart, Proposition 102, is clearly worded:
"Only a union of one man and one woman shall be
valid or recognized as a marriage in this state."
From the article:
" 'The simplicity of the amendment is what's going to
help it pass,' said Austin Nimocks, senior legal counsel for
the Alliance Defense Fund, one of the backers of the
anti-gay marriage measure." The story cited a
statewide poll of McCain's home state that
shows 49% for the bill, 42% against, and 9% still
More on Prop. 8: USA Todaycame out against it and
other anti-gay marriage bills, chiding the
backers' "scare tactics" and
proclaiming that California's Yes on 8 ads
are worse "fear-mongering" than any ads
propagated by either presidential campaign.
editorial board: "Religious conservatives are casting
Proposition 8, which would ban same-sex weddings, as the
last stand against Armageddon. They warn that
ministers would be jailed for preaching against
homosexuality, or that churches refusing to marry gay
couples would face lawsuits and lose tax exemption. Small
matter that thousands of same-sex marriages in
California and Massachusetts have neither brought the
world to an end nor triggered such excess."
isn't totally for gay marriage, however; like Barack
Obama, it likes the separate-but-equal notion provided
to civil unions.
Salon.com had an interesting
piece addressing what could happen concerning
the gay marriage propositions when ethnic minorities go
to the polls in large numbers to pull the level for
Obama. LaDoris Cordell, an African-American lesbian,
said that blacks haven't done as much for the
gay rights movement as they should, due to long-standing
homophobia and deep religious roots have impeded some
movement, she said.
she continued, "some African-Americans believe that
it is only we who should benefit from the gains achieved by
the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s. They
fear that to allow the gay community to enter the
doors of opportunity opened by our struggle, to permit
gays and lesbians to share in the fruits of that movement,
will diminish those benefits for the black community.
Truth is, there is more than enough to go
She believes that
while the African-American community will "come
through," she wonders what effect Mexican-Americans,
who are Catholic and are more firmly rooted against
gay marriage, will have on the election.
ended with a story about two Mexican-American women whom she
married as a judge. Seeing the family members wearing
crosses, she assumed they were there out of politeness
-- and was happy to discover she was wrong.
witnessed three generations of Latinos -- parents,
grandparents, great-grandparents, who, with tears of
love and joy, embraced Patricia and Camille....
As one family member later told me, "I don't understand
all the fuss. Supporting two people who love each other is
just the Christian thing to do."