Thursday, October 30, 2008

The battle of our time

California is in the midst of a battle that makes the famed “culture wars” look like a leisurely picnic. In that state, religious extremists are attempting to amend the state’s constitution to remove the right of same-sex couples to marry, as some 11,000 have done so far. Based on current polling, the haters are poised to succeed.

The amendment is being promoted by the usual assortment of social conservatives, but the campaign is being championed mostly by far right christianists and, especially, Mormons, who have made the battle a particular crusade for their religion.

The religionists pushing the amendment have used outright lies in their campaign, and it’s worked to turn the polls around. Apparently, the prohibition against bearing false witness has an asterisk for these people. They’re also raising much more money than the No on 8 campaign, recently announcing they’d raised some ten times more. Now they’re asking for another $3 million on top of that to seal their victory.

The No on 8 campaign is attempting to raise $3 million in 3 days. A big ask, but one that must succeed because Proposition 8 must not.

Why do I care? Partly, it’s matter of principle: No religion should be allowed to force their beliefs on everyone else, but to take away other people’s human rights in order to impose those beliefs is even worse. Also, by attacking the gay and lesbian people of California they are, by extension, attacking all gay and lesbian Americans, wherever they live.

There’s no rational reason to oppose marriage equality. After all, if the religionists don’t like same-sex marriage, then I suggest that they don’t have one. But the pushers of this amendment have avoided rationality in their campaign, relying on those lies as well as deliberate distortions that have the effect of being lies.

What this battle is really about is human dignity: Either we are all citizens of equal value, or we aren’t. I respect the right of the religionists to have their beliefs, even though I don’t share them, but I demand they respect my rights as a citizen. They clearly don’t, and this battle proves it. Fortunately, there’s still time to prove to them that simple justice matters more.

Donate to Equality California/No On Prop 8’s 3 Mill 3 Days campaign (anyone can donate, no matter where in the world they live).

Update: Tonight the No on Prop 8 website and the site for Say No 2 (the campaign against the proposed Florida constitutional amendment to outlaw marriage equality) were victims of an apparently coordinated denial-of-service attack. D-o-S attacks are intended to crash servers, making the sites inaccessible (making it impossible for people to make donations). A single D-o-S attack is merely a cyber crime; a coordinated attack like this crosses the line into cyber terrorism.

Update 2 (31/10/08): The attacks on No on Prop 8 are continuing. Apparently, it's possible to get through to the sites, but they're running much more slowly. According to a press release from No on 8, "It is believed the attacks, which occurred throughout the night, came from California, Texas, New Jersey and Georgia. The attacks to the site increased from a small number of hosts to dozens. As IP addresses of attackers were blacklisted, new IP addresses emerged and attacked." This indicates a level of multi-state coordination, so the FBI and Secret Service, who have jurisdiction over such cyber attacks, have been notified.

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