Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Deep" Thought #20: Description of What Anti-Gay Initiative Does Might Prejudice People Against Voting For What Initiative Does

California's Attorney General has changed the wording of the state's ballot initiative that would amend the state's constitution to take away the right of same-sex couples to marry. While the "marriage defenders" wanted the language on the ballot to read that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California," the new language on the ballot will state that the initiative will "eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry."

This new statement is completely accurate, of course. Same-sex couples currently have the right to marry in California and the constitutional amendment would eliminate that right. Yet, marriage defenders aren't happy about this new accurate wording. For instance, Jennifer Kerns of the Protect Marriage coalition believes that the new wording "is so inflammatory that it will unduly prejudice voters against the measure."


See, in the realm of Earthly logic, one would think that the proponents of an initiative would want voters to know exactly what it was they were voting for. In the case of this new wording, it lays out exactly what it is the initiative will tangibly do-- eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. But no. Accurate messaging? We shan't have that now.

Here's a little hint, people. If you are scared that an accurate description of your initiative might be so "inflammatory" so as to "prejudice" people against voting for it, you should probably come up with an initiative that isn't so repugnant when it's accurately described. Amending a constitution is serious business and if the only way for you to succeed is if you are in control of the messaging, well, then maybe your little amendment doesn't deserve to be in anyone's constitution.

But that's okay. We understand what this latest drama is all about, don't we? Now that voters will have to come face-to-face with the fact that they're taking something away from gay couples, some people's consciences might get the better of them. That's what the anti-gay crowd is fearing here. And that's why Kerns' statement is worthy of a "deep" thought. Kerns and the other members of this movement are objecting to accurate descriptions of what their initiative will do. They don't have faith in the average voter to do what's "right" unless the people can be persuaded that they are bravely and justly "defending" an institution rather than taking something important away from a minority group. The Attorney General has brought this movement back down to Earth, out of the realm of grandiose hyperbolic predictions of Great Harm to Society, and has shined a light on the reality of what this initiative tangibly means.

Now that the light is shining, take a good long look America. Look at this movement that is desperate to control the messaging, see how it fears truth, and ask yourself what side you want to say you were on when the history books are written.

Yeah, Kerns. A description of what your bigoted initiative actually does just might prejudice people against voting for what it actually does. Ya think?

"Deep" thoughts.

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