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They’re Afraid Of Us


by Robert Cruickshank

Yesterday the US Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari to a case out of Washington State, Doe v. Reed, that has a lot of significance for both the Prop 8 trial as well as our continuing efforts to beat back the far right’s plan to impose their radical ideas on our country.

Doe v. Reed stems from the domestic partnership law that the Washington Legislature approved about a year ago. Seattle-area megachurches organized to gather signatures for a petition to force a voter referendum on that law. They were successful in putting it on the ballot, but failed to defeat Referendum 71, which passed in November, granting domestic partnership rights to same-sex couples.

Like California, Washington has laws mandating that signatures on these official petitions be released to the public. Our electoral process, like our legislature and our courts, depends on openness, transparency and disclosure to function properly. People must be able to have trust in their government in order for them to allow it to continue working on their behalf.

As we have seen this week, however, opponents of marriage equality don’t see it that way. They are afraid of disclosure, afraid of the public knowing what they really believe, afraid to take personal responsibility for their actions. And it’s the same in Washington State, where Protect Marriage Washington sued to block the disclosure of these petitions by claiming the state’s Public Records Act is unconstitutional. A lower court in Seattle agreed with them but was reversed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Yesterday, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear this case. Arguments are expected in April and we could have a decision by June.

This is all part of a pattern of deception and an unwillingness to be straight with the public. Opponents of same-sex marriage claim that they are afraid of disclosure and public scrutiny because, somehow, that if they or their ideas are exposed to the public, they’ll suffer harassment or worse.

As I explained earlier this week, those concerns are worse than a joke – they’re an example of misdirection and projection. Conservatives have for decades operated by creating a myth that they are victims of some left-wing conspiracy, that some big bad “gay agenda” is out to get them and ruin their marriages, their children, and their lives. This works only by their denial of the fact that it is LGBT Americans who are the ones actually suffering, whether it’s the denial of their rights or the brutal physical attacks that conservatives never have to deal with.

That sort of victimhood on the part of conservatives is a very carefully crafted victimhood, designed to justify their own oppression of others.

And yet the right-wing truly is afraid. Not of their imagined enemy, but of their real enemy: the truth. They know full well that when the issues are presented honestly and fairly, the public will see their radical agenda as it truly is, will see their bigotry and desire to discriminate, and reject it.

One of the core elements of American legal doctrine, with roots going back over 800 years to England, is that a suspect has the right to publicly confront their accuser. This isn’t some abstract principle. Medieval England knew, as did Revolutionary America, that it’s easy to make claims and threats behind closed doors, because you can do so without those claims and threats being challenged. But when the accused faces the accuser in full public view, they must be able to defend and justify their claims, or else face the judgement of society. It is a powerful and extremely effective deterrent to false accusations and miscarriages of justice.

Which is why doesn’t want the petition names made public and doesn’t want the trial made public. They are afraid of the public. Afraid that once their true motives are exposed, they will not be able to defend them credibly – because as this week’s trial has shown, there is no credible defense for the desire to ban same-sex marriage.

Instead, Prop 8 supporters want to avoid situations where they must defend themselves and their ideas in a fair and public way. They prefer situations where they can distort the truth and manipulate the public into believing what they want them to believe to get the electoral outcome they desire. Even then, they were barely able to get voters in California to approve Prop 8, and had to spend $40 million on extremely deceptive campaign ads to do it.

The legal system exists precisely to counteract those kinds of situations, to provide those who have had their rights attacked or taken away the ability to confront those who have done so and take back their rights. And that in turn is precisely why wants to undermine the legal system in order to undermine marriage. If they can’t win fairly, then they’ll try to undermine the systems and institutions that ensure fairness.

I don’t see what’s traditional or desirable about that.


  • 1. Mike Guiltinan  |  January 16, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Let's not forget NOM has filed a suit claiming Maine's election law is unconstitutional for exactly the same reason, an attempt to hide.

    IIf you've got time, check out Virtual White Hoods for Anti-Gay Activists?

  • 2. Richard W. Fitch  |  January 16, 2010 at 7:44 am

    This is all part of a pattern of deception and an unwillingness to be straight with the public.

    A rather ironic choice of words

  • 3. SF Bay  |  January 16, 2010 at 7:55 am

    I am especially disgusted with the Mormons in this respect. For a religion that has seen its own share of persecution, they sure don't have a problem turning right around and doing the same to another group. First they preach that African Americans are black because the chose the side of the devil and are therefore deserving of predjudice. When this positon became untenablle their leader had a "revelation" and suddenly being black wasn't a problem anymore. Now they've moved on to the LGBT population; the next abomination. Right up there with murders. They truly are pitiful. Sadly they are very powerful too. Some day soon there will have to be another revelation.

  • 4. waxr  |  January 16, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Readers may like to see the political cartoon on the Cal Law website

    The cartoon depicts prop 8 attorney Thomson cross examining George Chauncey. In the background is judge Walker. Thomson is asking Chauncey, ‘And isn’t it true that you are not, in fact, homophobic?’

    You can also read the story which goes with the cartoon.

    You will have to register to get on, but there is no cost.

  • 5. douglb1  |  January 16, 2010 at 8:04 am

    I know this probably has no merit here and is way off topic but if we are second class citizens that don't deserve the right to marry and the rights we do have are not consistent throughout the US then why do we have to pay taxes? They expect us to pay as they do but don't want us around. I am just fed up with the whole thing. The crap they get away with is inconceivable. I just hope that my faith in our legal system isn't smashed. Why can educated, and I am probably giving more credit than I should, people not see through the smoke and mirrors of the likes of

  • 6. beowuff  |  January 16, 2010 at 8:09 am

    I am a resident of Washington and, of course, voted for Prop 71. I am a straight married man, but don't see any reason why two people who really love each other shouldn't have the same rights my wife and I do.

    Now, to be honest, I may very well have signed to have prop 71 on the ballot. I can't really remember for sure if I signed, but at the time I thought it would be good to get SOMETHING like that on the ballet. My thoughts would have been that some rights are better then no rights. And that in the future, maybe they could be expanded upon.

    Part of this was based on my own lack of knowledge at the time. If I had known that prop 71 was created by bigots, of course I wouldn't have signed to get it on the ballot.

    So, I wonder how many other well meaning people might have thought that signing that thing was a good idea at the time. Just something to consider.

  • 7. Lance W  |  January 16, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Slightly unrelated, when should we expect judge Vaughn Walker to rule should the trial end next week?

  • 8. kim  |  January 16, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Logic should have caused the Supreme Court to rule to allow the cameras. Those who were or who still are testifying are already public with their views, have been on TV and at public rallies or even sending out scary letters to get people to vote for discrimination.

    This ruling is very disturbing, and I hope it does not show us that we have no chance in that court to win equal rights once and for all.

  • 9. GAYGUY  |  January 16, 2010 at 9:42 am

    You are one of a BUNCH of people. Even with Prop 8 in California…I KNEW how to vote to say NO, but the wording was set up to confuse people and I know some that voted yes…thinking they were voting YES for gay marriage! I had to reread the prop a couple fo times…JUST to make sure. It is this tactic that is used by them to get what they want diceptively! That is why it needs to be put back on the ballot by US! Especially if it looses in the courts! Don't feel bad for signing the petition when you REALLY thought you were helping!

  • 10. michael  |  January 16, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Am I the only one that sees the irony?

    We are attacked, beaten, murdered, and victims of horrible, childish names and yet (as can be seen on the Protect Marriage website) they interpret the testimony of such things as "the gays had their feelings were hurt".

    Yet when the extremists want to deny another group of Americans their equal rights, they allege they are "afraid" of being known to have supported such type of legislation in order to avoid some sort of humiliation.

    And when the extremists make false statements in order to get one of their propositions passed and further down the line the lies continue if the matter proceeds to litigation, they again allege they are "afraid" of us.

    I know judges, lawyers and the like are not stupid, but I SURE hope they see how ironic this all is.

  • 11. michael  |  January 16, 2010 at 11:17 am

    The tactic works to their advantage.

    And they work to stop the Hate Crimes Legislation even after all those terrible things being all over the news for all these years because they are all told that would lead to Gay Marriage…Or that the Gay's deserve it because they made a "Choice". That is why they constantly repeat that its an option, a choice, changeable "deviant" behavior. Why should they care if they chose to do it?
    Over and over they repeat "Choice". My Choice or their Choice? What is best for me/us?

    "Shouldn't I be given the "Choice" to say what my child learns" "Shouldn't the people be given the "Choice" to decide themselves. Its subliminal reinforcement of the "Choice" crap. Hmm shouldn't I be given a "choice" like they had about being Gay???? They are forcing me to go along with their "Choices"…..

    They say how they were send hate mail, email or boycotts. What that means to other people who think just like them is that they are all as a "group" being victimized. Like the "they had to close the church because they wouldn't do a Gay wedding they didn't have any other Choice" For those people who wouldn't even care about this at all it raises their fears of it happening to them. Will my Church be closed?

    Same thing about the kids. Will my kids be taught what I didn't Chooset them to learn? (Like that shit isn't already happening everyday.) So to focus on the Gay's Recruiting your kids myth it leads parents to automatically work to protect their children from something that they themselves didn't Choose.

    Look at everything they say write or post and notice it in all the Commercials: Choose, Choice constantly repeated to reinforce their entire propaganda machine!

    "The people of California already Choose Twice to not allow Gay Marriage now they are trying to force their Choices on all of Us"

    They are all brainwashed!

  • 12. michael  |  January 16, 2010 at 11:21 am

    We all have some typo's lol…
    "Will my kids be taught what I didn’t Chooset them to learn?"
    should read:
    Will my kids be taught what I didn't choose for them to learn?


  • 13. michael  |  January 16, 2010 at 11:25 am

    ps I'm a different Michael…

  • 14. Niles  |  January 16, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I was curious, so I did a quick bit of googling and found this:

    the summary is, of all hate crimes motivated by sexual bias, on average something like 98% were against non-heteros. I don't have statistics offhand for politically-motivated hate crimes, but it really wouldn't surprise me to see a similar sort of trend.

    Yeah, the bigots are afraid of gays and allies. They're so afraid they just can't stop attacking and murdering people for who they love.

  • 15. michael  |  January 16, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    oops……”feelings hurt”……

    (I really need an editor)

  • 16. michael  |  January 16, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Anyone else think Maggie is really the "Emperor" from Star Wars?

  • 17. Tim  |  January 16, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    I really do not understand.The religious right as a group of people that supposedly does good to the world and preaches love and forgiveness,does not judge others,helps those in need, is teaching morality by doing their absolute best to strip away the right to marry from a group of people that (if you believe what they do) are also God's children!
    If they were to win, just what do they expect to get out of it? Why is it so important that they resort to deception and lying to those people who look up to them? They are really supossed to be the good ones,yet are turning out to be the evil ones.Why do so many people believe what they say? I JUST DON'T GET IT! I am supposed to be the bad one,but all I do is love people,try to make people laugh,try to help people and want to solidify my love for someone through marriage. And this is Bad?????? They are hiding because they know they are wrong!

  • 18. Tim  |  January 16, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Yes, I too am sorry for any miss spelling! I may be Gay, but no I'm not perfect. LOL I love you all. I will never give up!

  • 19. douglb1  |  January 16, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Here are some more comprehensive statistics from the FBI.

  • 20. JonT  |  January 17, 2010 at 12:13 am

    You know, I can’t fine the word ‘gay’, ‘lesbian’, or ‘homosexual’ on that page… :(

  • 21. douglb1  |  January 17, 2010 at 12:22 am

    Did you try clicking on one of the years then clicking on Access Tables under say Incidences and Offenses? The URL I provided is just the main page. You need to drill down dude and you will find the word homosexual.

  • 22. Bill  |  January 17, 2010 at 3:59 am

    Mark my words. We are about to enter the portion of the trial where the defense will start blaming LGTB citizens for our own oppression.

    It is ALWAYS the last battle cry of the bigots. It is what they use, and in fact have always used, as their argument when there is simply no argument left.

    I've seen this for over 40 years. It's always true. They have done it to women, racial minorities and now us.

    Their tactics always fail, as their only tactic is destraction from truth. But truth will always see the light of day. Always.

    So, all they can really do is delay. How sad that in the process, hundreds of millions of dollars are wasted on trying to prevent the inevitable, when in fact those hundreds of millions of dollars could have been spent 'protecting the children' from things they TRULY need protecting from.

  • 23. Bill  |  January 17, 2010 at 4:00 am

    They want to hurt you because they do not like you.

    At it's base, it is very juvenielle.

  • 24. Marco Luxe  |  January 17, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Have any reports been generated to refute the distortions in the Heritage Foundation's catalogue of anti-straight violence in reaction to Prop 8? The report, "The Price of Prop 8", is just political lies.

    I read the report's footnotes to the "incidents", and to me, some show pure unconfirmable political accusations with no evidence or corroboration, a la "He looked at me crosseyed so I felt harassed"

    The Intervenors have alluded to all this fear of retribution, death threats, vandalism, harassment, etc. but it seems to be all made up…. and then the empty claims were "documented" by an ideological think tank's academic "study".

    Where is the well-researched refutation of these lies?

    This is part of a scheme of lies that stretches back to the Wirthins of Mass. who were "outraged" in their TV ad because their son had access to diversity materials that included non-traditional nuclear families. [Mom cries, "He had to learn about gay marriage" !] The fact is that they were a plant by Mormoms, whose top leaders are related to this family! They temporarily moved into the area to generate these lies to be used against marriage equality, part of the long term Mormon plan, but they've never been exposed in the mainstream press!

  • 25. michael  |  January 17, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    That money could also have helped the less fortunate just like it says in the Good Book they claim to follow!

  • 26. Ksf  |  January 17, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    The same reason the kkk wears hoods over their faces. They want to discriminate but hide from the public.

  • 27. James Sweet  |  January 18, 2010 at 12:25 am

    The "revelation" concerning African-Americans didn't come until 1978 (that is not a typo) so I wouldn't hold your breath. I'm thinking LD$ Inc. might reform their attitude towards gay relationships, oh, 50-60 years after it is recognized across the country.

  • 28. James Sweet  |  January 18, 2010 at 12:27 am

    IIRC, there is video footage of a guy in DC trying to get ballot signatures where he specifically misleads people, sizing up whether they are more likely to be pro- or anti-, and then telling the non-bigots that the signatures are so that "voters will get to approve gay marriage at the ballot box" or some disingenuous crap like that.

  • 29. jimig  |  January 18, 2010 at 8:01 am

    My parents have been together for over 40 years and in the same sex relationship. They have raised 3 children all of us are married and have children. My parents are now grandparents, yet they do not have the rights to share inheritance or hospital decisions. I am so sad that those members of these churches many of which are my friends find it so easy to take away from my family what they have been so freely given. I was a pastor and associated with some of these churches, I leaft because of the leaders hatred, and that is what it is, it's not biblical it's just hatred.

  • 30. Jordon  |  January 18, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    While I do not think it is right to try and obfuscate any part of the legal process I would ask people to not just label these the pro-Prop 8 people as totally afraid of the truth. There may be a legitimate fear of retaliation. People feel very passionately about this issue and such passion makes people do stupid and occasionally violent things.

    I'm all for same sex marriage. I don't think that you can really read the 14th amendment and not be. I'm just always trying to understand the other side. I had hoped I was going to be able to hear so sort of semi-logical argument against same-sex marriage so I could think that maybe there was some reason beyond homophobia and bigotry for all the fuss. Nope. People just hate.

    I hope this made sense. Jet lag not helping the logic come out right.

  • 31. fiona64  |  January 19, 2010 at 4:36 am

    Yep … and that "revelation" also came on the heels of nearly losing their tax-exempt status over the matter.

    I anticipate a convenient "revelation" about LGBT folks as well as more of their involvement in Prop 8, Question 1, etc., is revealed.

  • 32. Denise  |  January 19, 2010 at 5:59 am

    Just throwing this out there….I am always infuriated to fill out a form: i.e. jury duty, new patient forms at the dentist, or dr., TAX forms……….when asked about marital status; years ago I started crossing out "marital status" and writing in: "NOT ALLOWED TO MARRY" listing my partner's name and occupation when applicable….I always wondered what, if anything the folks handling the forms thought………I remeber being angry that my life and relationship didn't exist to the "form maker" . My elderly widowed parent (who I do elder care for) is as Homophobic as they come….Thump, thump, thumpin' the bible for over 30 years at me….Yes, it is stressful to have your life ignored by the law, and condemned to Hell by a parent.. Oh, who wouldn't "CHOOSE" this? Morons.

  • 33. daleandersen  |  January 19, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Memo to Denise – –

    Sounds like you're the moron, petunia

  • 34. Anna  |  January 19, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I find the whole choice bit insane.

    Seriously, they think I can choose my sexuality, but I'm not allowed to choose how I deal with my reproductive system…so I can choose my attractions but not how to deal with their consequences? How the hell does that work?

  • 35. How Today’s Supreme&hellip  |  January 21, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    […] that’s not what Thomas and the Prop 8 backers want. As we saw last week, the right-wing movement wants to hide its true intentions from a public that fundamentally […]

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