October 23, 2012
By Matt Baume
A new anti-gay ad just launched in Washington, and it’s a carbon-copy of the same misleading, hurtful messages that they’ve run year after year in other states. But the Prop 8 trial changed things. That trial was like a freedom-to-marry truth commission, where we put all of their misleading claims on the stand and examined them piece by piece. And of course, AFER’s expert legal team demolished all of those arguments.
Let’s take a look at the new Washington ad and break it down.
“Referendum 74 is not about equality. Gays and lesbians already have the same legal rights as married couples.”
No. Domestic partnerships are fundamentally different from marriage. They’re better than no protection at all, but they are also separate and unequal. That’s not an opinion — that’s according to studies from multiple states, as well as the District Court’s findings in the Prop 8 case: “The evidence at trial shows that domestic partnerships exist solely to differentiate same-sex unions from marriages. A domestic partnership is not a marriage.”
Then there’s The New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission, which wrote, “separate categorization established by the Civil Union Act invites and encourages unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their children.” The commission’s report includes a story about a woman who couldn’t get access to her partner in a hospital because the staff didn’t know what a civil union was. And they heard from mental health professionals about the “psychological harm that same-sex couples and their children endure because they are branded with an inferior label.”
And the Vermont Commission of Family Recognition and Protection found “clear, significant differences between the benefits, privileges, and responsibilities attached to a civil union versus a heterosexual marriage.” Among the commission’s witnesses was a woman whose partner was denied health benefits by a CEO who thought a civil union just meant moving in with your a girlfriend.
Then there’s the Supreme Court of California, which wrote, “differential treatment at issue impinges upon a same-sex couple’s fundamental interest in having their family relationship accorded the same respect and dignity enjoyed by an opposite-sex couple.”
And finally, the Supreme Court of Connecticut wrote: “the segregation of heterosexual and homosexual couples into separate institutions constitutes a cognizable harm.”
So no. It’s not the same.
“But marriage is more than a commitment between two adults. It was created for the care and well-being of the next generation.”
According to the last Census, twenty percent of gay and lesbian couples are raising children. And we proved during the Prop 8 trial that marriage discrimination is harmful to their kids.
During the Prop 8 trial, Professor Lee Badgett testified that laws like Prop 8 have “inflicted substantial economic harm on same sex couples and their children.”
And Psychologist Doctor Michael Lamb testified that “for a significant number of these children [raised by gay and lesbian parents], their adjustment would be promoted were their parents able to get married.”
Even one of the Prop 8 proponents’ own witnesses, David Blankenhorn, admitted that the freedom to marry “would extend a wide range of the natural and practical benefits of marriage to many lesbian and gay couples and their children.”
“When laws like 74 have occurred elsewhere, people who disagree faced lawsuits, fines, and punishment.”
Okay, this is a pretty transparent scare tactic. Just use some common sense: obviously, nobody gets punished simply for disagreeing with a law. That’s just ridiculous. The truth is that these are people who did more than disagree. A lot more.
For example, the people pictured at the top left are Jim and Mary O’Reilly. They own a resort in Vermont that refused service to a lesbian couple. Under the Vermont Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act, that’s no different from refusing service on the basis of race, religion, or disability. That’s why they were sued.
In the upper right is Damian Goddard, a newscaster who made anti-gay statements online.
Goddard claims that he was fired because of his tweet, but the news station says it was for “well-documented reasons,” that they won’t reveal since it’s a personnel matter.
In the lower right is Rose Marie Belforti, a town clerk in New York who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. But issuing licenses is her job. She’s a public official, and she wanted free reign to only serve certain citizens, and leave the rest to fend for themselves. Government employees just can’t do that.
Republican San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders put it best during the Prop 8 trial: “if government tolerates discrimination against anyone for any reason, it becomes an excuse for the public to do exactly the same thing.”
And the fourth couple — we don’t actually know who that is. Do you recognize them? Let us know in the comments if you know who they are.
“You can oppose same-sex marriage and not be anti-gay.”
That is grammatically weird, logically weird, and legally wrong. ur opponents oppose the freedom to marry because they say that gay and lesbian couples are inferior to straight couples. That is the definition of anti-gay.
And it cannot be the basis for a law. We’ve been though this already with Prop 8. The District Court ruled in our case, “Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians. The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples … Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license.”
So they’re trying the same old tricks that they pulled four years ago with Prop 8. The difference is that this time, we’ve had a trial. We’ve gathered evidence. We’ve proven in court — twice — that banning marriage is unconstitutional. No matter what state you’re in.