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Pound Prop 8: Tracking the Trial Tweets

Right-wing Trial analysis

By guest poster Laura Kanter, a Deputy Field Organizer for the Courage Campaign

Perhaps it is because I’m Jewish, a Lesbian, married to a Black woman and living in Orange County that I am so highly attuned to the propaganda generated by the proponents of prop 8. Maybe there is something in my historical memory that insists that I be hyper-alert to dangerous rhetoric, given the knowledge that for centuries, propaganda has been used to stigmatize, marginalize, oppress, violate, and annihilate people like my wife and me. Like so many others, I was looking forward to watching the trial broadcast on YouTube because I knew that people would finally get to see for themselves the bigotry and lies that were at the heart of prop 8; they would get to see the testimonies of Kristin Perry & Sandra Stier, and Paul Katami & Jeffrey Zarrillo. Surely this would move many hearts and minds, regardless of the verdict.

When the media started paying attention to the battle over whether or not the trial would be broadcast, I noticed the comments coming from the defense. We know they didn’t want people to hear and see the testimonies; broadcasting the trial would prevent them from spinning the facts and might allow a reasonable public to hear the truth and identify with the very sympathetic plaintiffs. But with their spin, the propaganda began. Once again, they were attempting to control the public perception of gays and lesbians. There they were on the major news networks, talking about risking the safety of their clients and their clients’ families, and about needing to protect “the children.” This is the same propaganda that was used to dehumanize Blacks here in America and abroad, and Jews (and LGBTs), in nazi Germany. The rhetoric makes us into predators who pray on children and angry, out-of-control monsters who will destroy civilization.

I used to think that any reasonable person could see that the assertions made by the proponents of prop 8 were based in fear and hatred and were simply ridiculous. Sadly, however, as day 8 witness William Tam, so acutely demonstrated, people often accept what they are told as long as it fits into their cognitive schema. In many ways, the very extreme Dr. Tam is the quintessential American right wing voter. Or, as Brian Leubitz described him in another Trial Tracker blog post, “… that Cute Ignorant Uncle That Everybody Cringes At.” During his testimony, Tam indicated that he believed that in the Netherlands, the legalization of same sex marriage was followed by the legalization of polygamy and incest. (I commented that Dr. Tam got his data from wikipedophelia.) When asked where he got this information, he replied that someone found it on the internet, showed it to him and he believed it. This is exactly why prop 8 passed and how groups like Tam’s, Protect Marriage, and Alliance Defense Media get away with lie after lie after lie.

The ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court not to broadcast the trial was devastating. We were so hopeful that finally the scare quotes and lies generated by the anti-LGBT movement would be brought to light. Sadly, we were again denied the support of our government and left to fend for ourselves. At least this was nothing new.

Fortunately, by 8:31 a.m. on the very first day, a new way to bear witness to the trial emerged on twitter and then through the Courage Campaign Trial Tracker.

When I first started following the tweets, I noticed that the tweet lists that people had created did not include any of the prop 8 proponents. Once I started seeing the tweets, especially those coming from the Alliance Defense Fund (@ADFMedia) and Protect Marriage (@protectmarriage), I added them to my list and made it my personal mission to at least try to bring attention to their lies and hold them accountable for their words. Thus my obsession takes hold.

Using a tweet list , I started “tweet tracking” (say that three times fast) the comments from the prop 8 proponents to see how they aligned with what the other tweeters were saying. I don’t think we have had many opportunities to see spin spun on the spot like this and it was both fascinating and at the same time maddening. Its not like I hadn’t heard all this propaganda before; it was just so blatantly not what was going on in the courtroom.

One might say “so what,” a few hundred people follow the tweets and they aren’t the people whose hearts and minds we can change anyway. But for me, it was about the bigger picture. These so called “Christians” who had enough political power to determine what rights I do and do not deserve were telling gross lies about me and my family. And they were getting away with it. And, as Tam demonstrated, it only takes a few words on the internet to create a “fact” for some people, whether or not that fact is true.

It is reasonable to consider that our side was also spinning the information, but it seemed unlikely that our witnesses would have used terms such as “homosexual agenda” and made blanket statements that supported the defenses’ arguments. Now that we can go back and look at the transcripts of the trial, we can really see how much the proponents of prop 8 twist the truth.

For example, one ADFMedia tweet stated

“Finally Segura concedes majority of US papers support homosexual agenda (kinda like conceding that John Madden likes football)”

According to the transcripts, Dr. Segura never used the term “homosexual agenda” and made no equivalent blanket statement about the US papers. Regardless, this is what is being quoted and what will be repeated over and over again. Oddly, after I tweeted that I wasn’t sure what the homosexual agenda was and asked if anyone had a copy, a prop 8 proponent following the tweets sent me a link to the book “The Homosexual Agenda” on Amazon and added that it was “a good read.” (I’m still not sure whether or not he was serious.)

Another tweet from Protect Marriage during Mayor Sanders’ testimony stated

“Sanders acknowledges violence and property damage perpetrated by Anti-8 activists against Pro-8 voters #prop8 PLS RT”

This was an outright lie and I wasn’t the only tweet tracker that let protectmarriage know it. A few hours later, when it made no sense at all since it was totally out of context, protect marriage sent the following tweet:

“Clarity: Sanders said he heard about anti-Prop8 violence, but had no personal knowledge of it”

You’d think this was big of them, right? Except they failed to use the hashtag (#prop8) and the tweet was not followed by PLS RT as was the first tweet.

Perhaps this is a bit obsessive but it is the little things that are repeated over and over that become part of our consciousness. (Here is an interesting overview of propaganda techniques.)

This tweet from ADFMedia is an example of the way the prop 8 proponents change just one word and alter the entire meaning of a quote:

“Expert says if there’s no option for dom part OR ssm, homosexuals will still be stigmatized and have mental disorders bc theyr gay. #prop8”

That members of our community suffer from a high incidence of drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness has long been used against us by anti-LGBT groups and the way this was worded reflects that rhetoric. Someone might say that this is old thinking and that we know better now. But I am certain that the wording of all of these tweets is done carefully and purposefully to reinforce the rhetoric. In fact, if you go on the website for The Family Research Council you will find this explanation for the high incidence of mental health problems in our community (notice they even put the word discrimination in quotes!):

Isn’t it possible that these problems result from society’s “discrimination” against homosexuals? This is the argument usually put forward by pro-homosexual activists. However, there is a simple way to test this hypothesis. If “discrimination” were the cause of homosexuals’ mental health problems, then one would expect those problems to be much less common in cities or countries, like San Francisco or the Netherlands, where homosexuality has achieved the highest levels of acceptance. In fact, the opposite is the case. In places where homosexuality is widely accepted, the physical and mental health problems of homosexuals are greater, not less. This suggests that the real problem lies in the homosexual lifestyle itself, not in society’s response to it. In fact, it suggests that increasing the level of social support for homosexual behavior (by, for instance, allowing same-sex couple to “marry”) would only increase these problems, not reduce them.

It isn’t just the tweets that were maddening. For example, whenever the proponents of prop 8 refer to same sex marriage, they put “marriage” in quotes. Even if they only use the letters ssm to save characters, they write it as ss”m”. This is clearly a deliberate attempt to dismiss even the notion of our getting married as having any validity whatsoever. Similarly, they never use the terms gay or lesbian; they say “those who engage in homosexual behavior” (think of all the characters they could save!), also an attempt to dismiss us as fully human and to deny the reality of our sexual orientation as something real, relegating it to a mere frivolous choice.

That being LGBT is a choice and a bad one at that, has been one of the overarching themes of the prop 8 proponents defense and this is reflected in their tweets. During Friday’s day-long testimony by Dr. Herek, a social psychologist from U.C. Davis, Protect Marriage issued only two tweets from the trial:

“#prop8 plaintiff exprt on sex orientation says “biological evidence of homosexuality is weak and inconclusive.”

and

“Plaintiff exprt on sex orientation says “we don’t understand the origin of SO in either men or women” & that it can change. #prop8”

How is it possible that this is what Protect Marriage took away from the entire day of Dr. Herek’s testimony? And here is Alliance Defense Fund’s summary:

“In other words: that “sexual orientation” = immutable human trait was thoroughly debunked in court today. #prop8”

Now, I wasn’t there. But if you read Rick’s live blog from day 9, read through the transcripts, and compare the prop 8 proponents tweets with those of the other courtroom tweeters, the broad oversimplifications become quite stark. They not only cherry pick; they turn the cherries into rocks. These are then carefully constructed in their own analyses on their websites and in their journals. We all know, too, that the misrepresentation of the truth reaches beyond the more extreme right wing media. A glaring example is a New York Times op-ed piece by Edwin Meese (yes, the Meese piece…). Meese alters, by shortening a quote, the words of David Boies to the extent that Meese made it seem like Boies was suggesting that the impetus for a ban on marriage equality was to bash and discriminate against LGBT people.

Consistently repeated oversimplified messages, whether true or not, become part of our consciousness. Before you have me committed for being obsessed, see for yourselves; read the tweets. There is example after example of the way the prop 8 proponents twist, alter, and distort the truth in their messaging; on twitter and in every form of media.

On its face the rhetoric is evil, its roots are evil, and its relentless cultivation through propaganda is definitely evil. But if it were simply evil and nothing else, it would not be able to persist, because most people aren’t evil. It has become deeply ingrained learning and is part of the fabric of people’s knowing. This is why we can’t argue with certain people, because, to use Barney Frank’s reference, it is like talking to a table. This is also why it so important that we continue to have the courage tell our own stories. And we have to do it again and again.

I invite all of the readers to spend some time paying attention to the tweets and dismantling the rhetoric. We have to continue to speak truth to power. We have to hold those in power accountable for their lies, and we have to be alert to the uses of propaganda. When the Nazis began to wage war against the Jews, they used rhetoric and propaganda that was then followed by action.

And as far as the Netherlands go, Denmark is one of the happiest places in the world. It’s a fact. I know its true – I heard it on Oprah.

#prop8 PLS RT

In solidarity,

Laura Agitator Kanter

If you want to see more dismantled tweets and some other stuff, check out my “blogette” at http://nobackseats.tumblr.com/

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

141 Comments

  • 1. ZackFord  |  January 23, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Laura!

    Thank you for your post!

    I share your same disdain for the spin we see from the defense. Just last night, ADF was hogging the #prop8 tag with a total of 34 tweets worth of spin on the trial so far. Despite it being late, I was not content with what they were putting out there and started intervening. (You can see the results here: http://zackfordblogs.com/2010/01/late-night-twitt

    I've also called for reporting profiles like leviticus_20 as spam for existing only to RT all the anti-gay tweets.

    Even worse (IMHO) are the posts from Andy Pugno on Protect Marriage.com. I know the P8TT folks have been reluctant to link to to these posts, but I think it's important to bring the spin all to light. That's why I respond to every one of Pugno's posts and do my best to include my own knowledge as an LGBT educator and context from the liveblogging.

    Just like Prop 8 proponents don't want their hate exposed in the courtroom, I think the same is true outside the courtroom. We should all be carefully following and exposing the lies ADF and PM try to spread. Thanks for your enthusiasm for this important aspect of the Prop 8 trial phenomenon.

  • 2. Larry Kenneth Little  |  January 23, 2010 at 8:25 am

    It’s the hypocrisy of it all. Nobody is public with their sexual performances and it is an activity mostly hidden behind four walls. This room belongs to every consenting adult to express themselves in private regardless of orientation. There is a biological imperative and a physiological need for one to express themselves sexually and it can’t be limited only to those who happened to be married with church approval having some of the most silly and impractical restrictions more suitable to celibates rather than active teenagers. According to the church, only married people are permitted to engage in sexual behavior: everyone else goes to hell, especially masturbaters if they even get their hands near the crotch, or they are barred from Heaven, whichever fear mongering works to make the ignorant subservient to religious fanaticism. I can remember from my young years how popular it was for bullies to punch “queers” with their fists and insult them with taunts. How can Christians tolerate such behavior? Not the behavior of the queer but the behavior of the bully? The Mormon Church, The Catholic Conference of Bishops and a slew of evangelicals used $43,000,000 tax free dollars to spew hatred all over the state of California to successfully legislate discrimination to purposefully create inequality with Proposition 8. Everybody is entitled to equal rights: Equal rights means if you can do it, I can do it.
    Being a Catholic from Oatmeal, Kansas or a Pat Robertson congregation member doesn’t mean you are better than I am.

  • 3. Marc  |  January 23, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Thank you both for your efforts on this important issue.

    The ability for the supporters of these groups to hide their collective heads in the sand after denying U.S. citizens their inalienable rights due to laziness and blissful ignorance is astounding. It is because of this we must be diligent in rebutting them and shining the light on their hypocrisy.

  • 4. Michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Why am I not surprised at the vitriol of the Yes on 8 people, who'd resort to lies?

  • 5. michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 8:40 am

    If the basis for their argument is founded on the Bible when we see them break one of the 10 Commandments repeatedly they lose all credibility

    "Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor."

    This commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in relations with others. This also forbids lying.

    Every major Religion has a commandment or passage that outlines the importance of following this principle.

    When they ignore this and other rules, laws, sins and hold on to the GLBT bit they prove themselves to be nothing but Hypocrites and Pharisees.

  • 6. michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 8:41 am

    LOL true so true..

    Different Michael

  • 7. michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 8:42 am

    P.S.

    Laure awesome Post!

    XXOO

  • 8. David Crane  |  January 23, 2010 at 8:43 am

    I had just finished writing my own frustrated response to prop 8 rhetoric when I read this. I've pasted what I wrote below. It started out as a way for me to vent my feelings, but in the end it felt more like an homage to the Courage Campaign and to all of you.

    The “Closet” Swings Both Ways

    The Prop 8 trial is not just a test to see which judges are our allies, or even whether the Consitution itself is an ally, but also whether the metaphor of the “closet” works for us.

    In the past week we’ve seen a lot of debate about whether or not sexual orientation is “immutable,” which is legal jargon for whether or not SO is a “choice.” But for the core group of gay and lesbian individuals whose identity and sexual behavior are always tuned to the same sex, this amounts to a choice between coming out of the closet regarding their sexuality or remaining silent and cut-off from communities offering the moral support that all adults need to thrive.

    Gay people facing this choice are presented with a double bind, if the prop-8 arguments carry the day. The prop-8 people seem to feel that sexuality is a choice, and implicitly that if people choose to stay in the closet (or “reform”), then the closet affords them all the protection they need – they are not barred from participating in any heterosexual conventions and obtaining the rights conferred thereby. On the other hand, gay people who come out of the closet do not need to seek protection, according to the prop-8 folks – sympathetic media attention, hate crime legislation, and the lack of open hostility from politicians are thought to be protection enough. Needless to say this position occludes the reprisals to which openly gay individuals expose themselves, ranging from ubiquitous slurs to economic injustice and even to violence and death (which no amount of legislation can remedy). The flaw in their argument is that by encouraging people effectively to stay in the closet, prop-8 supporters tacitly acknowledge, endorse, and propagate the stigma attached to homosexuality in our culture, while at the same time trying to argue that it does not exist.

    The great irony here, already picked up by commentators, is that prop-8 supporters now face parallel “closet” issues. They cast themselves in the role of victims whose institutions and values need public protection (though from a gay perspective the status of heterosexual rights in this country is unassailable); but they also seek to avoid public exposure for fear of “reprisals” from the gay community. They recognize that there is a growing stigma attached to being a religious wing-nut in this country, and that if they “come out” people will tell them that they are already protected, even as they become targets for prank phone calls and boycotts (note the difference in degree of reprisals faced by the two communities). So a full description of the rhetoric employed by prop-8 supporters would point out that they claim to face the same double-bind they seek to impose on gays and lesbians.

    Here is the situation as I see it: a subset of the gay (and straight) population is seeking to forge institutions derivative of the heterosexual institutions we all grew up with, while a subset of the straight population is trying to prevent that from happening by using rhetoric derivative of the (gay) closet. And, as recent Supreme Court rulings indicate, that strategy seems to be working.

  • 9. michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Opps….Laura sorry….

  • 10. Caleb  |  January 23, 2010 at 8:48 am

    I think it's been incredibly useful to follow the pro-prop8 tweets and blogs as this trial progresses. It provides valuable insight into how they operate and how their group-think works.

    The most telling thing I've seen to date is that the vast majority of blogs/tweets on their side don't present actual testimony. They only present a distilled version of it, unwaveringly in support of their position. And, having done that, they disallow comments on their posts.

    Our side, on the other hand, has been presenting (as much as possible) the entire dialog between lawyers and witnesses. Yes, with some editorial content — but overwhelmingly allowing ANYONE on either side to read, comment and argue about the testimony.

    That says a hell of a lot. Their side is acting like a fascist regime… and the first goal of any organization like that is to control the free flow of information.

    It's clear: they're terrified of open and honest dialog. They're terrified of their bad science and their campaign of deliberate misinformation being exposed. It's no wonder they went through all sorts of legal gymnastics trying to get William Tam excused from having to testify.

  • 11. michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 8:49 am

    It's is interesting that the "Christians" are not even acting like Christians are supposed to but we should just meekly follow along with how they have decided we should.

    If they applied that Book to their own life first instead of trying to force the rest of us to follow their interpretation of the Message we would not be here today

  • 12. Alyson  |  January 23, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Please clarify a point for me – people are repeating that SCOTUS denied the cameras in the court room. My reading of it was that they granted a temporary stay until they could review the details and admonished walker for not following a process that the majority of SCOTUS thought he should have. THEN WALKER – pulled the plug on video taping so it wouldn't detract from the trial. SCOTUS could still have decided to allow it under some condition if Walker had allowed them to decide. Correct?

    I believe they are still recording for Walkers personal use – any chance these tapes can be preserved and still released at some point?

  • 13. ZackFord  |  January 23, 2010 at 9:09 am

    On that Monday was a temporary injunction, but that Wednesday was an indefinite stay. The next day Walker scrapped all intention of ever broadcasting, but has maintained taping just for his own use.

    He's indicated he'll be taking a break after witnesses are called to review it all before closing arguments.

  • 14. Kathryn  |  January 23, 2010 at 9:10 am

    "And as far as The Netherlands go, Denmark is one of the happiest places in the world. It’s a fact. I know its true – I heard it on Oprah."

    Hi, Last line of the article – above, you do know that The Netherlands is Holland and not Denmark, right? Denmark is next country up.
    I'm from Scotland(UK) and have been to Holland many times and agree its a very happy and beautiful country with welcoming people.
    love, Kathryn

  • 15. Michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 9:14 am

    You spelled "pray" incorrectly. You meant "prey" on children.

  • 16. Marlene Bomer  |  January 23, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Laura — Didn't you get the memo?

    The leaders of the religious reicht got together and decreed the Holy Warriors waging the culture war received special dispensation and exempted them from that commandment!

    This of course is done with tongue in cheek, but you should see the response I get when I bring it up!

  • 17. truthspew  |  January 23, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Our opposition takes a lesson from the grand propaganda masters of the 20th century. Tell a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.

    Of course some of us are on to their game. Now if only we could get the MSM interested in this we'd have a veritable feast on our hands of new acknowledgment that churches do in fact lie.

  • 18. Jeff G.  |  January 23, 2010 at 9:34 am

    With regard to the proponents' "our witnesses fear for their safety and have withdrawn" argument, when was the last time anyone heard of a group of gay people getting into a car and cruising around town looking for straights to bash?

  • 19. ZackFord  |  January 23, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Let's get those breeders!

  • 20. Jamie  |  January 23, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Uh…. Holland isn't a country either. Holland is a region in the Netherlands which is a country close to (but not bordering [Germany separates the two]) the country of Denmark .

  • 21. Alkanshel  |  January 23, 2010 at 9:56 am

    This level of lying is…beyond offensive.

    I have to say, the complete lack of interest in the trial (and, in fact, ignorance as to the fact that there IS a trial…!) by the general populace is…staggering.

    Some newspapers need to pick this up. Hell, Facebookers need to pick this up. I mean, yeah, it isn't Haiti, but it sure beats out news about Conan O'Brien and NBC.

  • 22. Jamie  |  January 23, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Sorry that should be "Holland isn't a country *period*"

  • 23. Alkanshel  |  January 23, 2010 at 10:02 am

    (To be fair, I should pick up a newspaper sometime. I'm sure there's some buzz about it, but all I ever hear online is Conan, Conan, Conan -.-")

  • 24. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Their lies are so easily exposed this time. Everyone has access to the transcripts of the trial. Obviously the 'followers' of prop 8 aren't going to bother to investigate; but one would think the major newscasts would! Oh, think of the fun they could have exposing all these 'holier than thou' folks with evidence of their own deceit!

    Late night talk show hosts could have a field day with it, too!

  • 25. michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 10:09 am

    I found this on a website that another poster listed:

    "I cannot be the only member of the church who feels like a hypocrite for saying that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, when the temple has sealings between one man and multiple women. As long as the sealings in the temple continue the way they do, then I cannot support what the church is saying it wants us to. How can we say we support marriage only being between a man and a woman when we so obviously don’t?

    Comment by Tanya S — August 8, 2008"

    This is the site and the comments are off the chain
    .
    Sounds like they are still secretly doing polygamist ceremony in the churches. Guess that is why it is so off limits.. Check it out it will blow you mind!
    ! http://www.nine-moons.com/2008/08/07/the-my-girl-

  • 26. Ronnie  |  January 23, 2010 at 10:15 am

    No ZackFord the proper term is Straightee because breeder refers to all heterosexual people.

    We do have some heterosexual people who support us.

    The term Straightee refers to heterosexual people who are bigots and use religion, hate, and prejudice to hurt other people who are LGBT as well as LGBT supporters.

    XOXO

  • 27. Alyson  |  January 23, 2010 at 10:22 am

    the nine moons link is mind blowing – can something like this be used by our team to solidify their argument about church power and involvment in politics?

  • 28. Joe  |  January 23, 2010 at 10:29 am

    If they stop calling SSM "homosexual marriage", I'll stop referring to the other as "gender-discordant marriage."

  • 29. David Crane  |  January 23, 2010 at 10:33 am

    That's been my experience as well. I facebook about the trial every day and have tried to have a conversation about it with most of the people in my life, and the general apathy I have encountered blows my mind. If it weren't for this community, in fact, I would be second-guessing my own priorities.

  • 30. B  |  January 23, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Just a short note on guest poster' Laura Kanter's statement, "During his testimony, Tam indicated that he believed that in the Netherlands, the legalization of same sex marriage was followed by the legalization of polygamy and incest." … according to http://www.nisnews.nl/public/120808_1.htm (dated Dec 2008) "Registrars in the major cities, in particular, record dozens of bigamous or polygamous marriages per year. These marriages are prohibited and an offence in the Netherlands. However, polygamous marriages that take place in countries where more than one wife is permitted, such as Morocco, are accepted, newspaper NRC Handelsblad reports."

    In addition, "Spokesman T. Verhoeven of the Rotterdam city council disclosed that polygamous marriages are registered almost every week. "They are simply acknowledged. It is important for us to check that the documents are authentic and that the husband does not have Dutch nationality." Otherwise the construction is illegal, Verhoeven explained."

    So, what is happening is simply that the Netherlands is recognizing that some people living there are from parts of the world with different customs than Europeans. If someone from a country where polygamy is legal moves to the Netherlands, perhaps because of work, the government will not tell him to pick one of his wives and send the rest away.

  • 31. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Yes, I agree. I ask people about it, and they just look at me blankly. And these are LGBT people! You'd think they'd at least know about it!

    This LACK of coverage has to be a concerted effort. The Media loves controversy, and here is a huge one dangling in front of their noses, and their looking the other way.

  • 32. Bass  |  January 23, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Unfortunately, the news media, both printed and broadcast, isn't going to pick this up anytime soon. So, the people, of not only California, but across this nation and around the world, are only going to get the spin version of what is happening in the court room. I wish that there was enough money to print up these transcripts and have them delivered to each and every address in California. Granted, the transcripts are availible online to read, but most people, as we have heard via Tam, only listen and believe what they are told and NEVER fully read the evidence themselves. It is my opinion, that if these transcripts were put into their hands, they would read them and then MAYBE they would open their eyes to the truth about what Prop8 was really all about and the lies that were told to scare and brainwash them.

    I may not be a Californian anymore, but I was at one time a long time ago and at times I still feel like a Californian….LOL. I am now a Hoosier and we are dealing with SJR-13 and our fight is just beginning…

    On yea, I am a lesbian and in a relationship…between the 2 of us we have 4 grown adult children and 6 grandchildren….We have been lurking here since day 1 intently following whqat is happening there and times when I say "Pack your bags, we are heading to SF!!!" We wish we could be there with all of you to help in the battle, but alas, we can only be there in spirit….

    This is my first post and I sure hope I did alright….and I want to say that we feel like we now have an extended family with all of our fellow brother and sisters across this country and to other nations….This trial has united more of the GLBT community and some of us don't feel so alone anymore….Thanks….

    Love and Peace to All…

    Us In Indiana

  • 33. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 10:49 am

    We have become family. I've said it before, but it's worth repeating, that's probably the best thing this trial has accomplished. Because now that we're connected, we won't feel so alone when we speak out. We have each other's backs, and that is strengthening us. In a lot of ways this trial may be the real start of our LGBT movement.

    And I have been so impressed with the intelligence in our community. LGBT people are SMART! I'm proud to be associated with all of you.

    Love,

    Linda and Leslie

  • 34. draNgNon  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:02 am

    great post about propaganda and messaging. perhaps there are lessons to be learned here? "the right" everyone worries about came into being in the 80s, they had a pretty deliberate agenda then, and it doesn't appear to have changed now, and even now they control their messaging pretty tightly.

    unfortunately I also agree with the tweet saying:

    “sexual orientation” = immutable human trait was thoroughly debunked in court today.

    it's not immutable, nobody has testified that it was. it's not necessarily under the individual's control either which is what I took away from a lot of the testimony.

    unfortunately, IANAL, but I'm pretty sure that "immutable" is the legal requirement to hit a "suspect class" designation.

  • 35. activecitizen54  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Thank you to all.
    I am a 55 year young Gay Man with a Gay Son and a Not-Gay Son and I love them both and want both to enjoy the same civil rights of marriage, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I've followed this with great passion because the voices I read and hear from this trial restore my faith in the real community of the LGBT Community.
    From our friends at the Box Turtle Bulletin comes this posting that we each should read and practice. http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/Articles/000,015
    We, above all things, must adhere to the proverbial "high road" here to insure that when seen we are the upright, moral, free citizens that our creator endowed with minds, hearts and souls and God doesn't make junk.
    The obscene funds spent to propagate HATE by these Cults of Jesus and the organizational skills of the Pope (President in the LDS/Mormon case) to the Bishops to the Clergy to the Congregation and the demands for funding from the Catholics, the Evangelicals and the LDS/Mormons is pure evil, a sin with no forgiveness possible.
    I wish for and I long for the Pre-AIDS days when some Queen from Castro would don a Habit and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were born to help our community deal with the unmitigated hate directed toward us. I long for Invisible Lesbian Sisters marching and meeting and mobilizing their heterosexual sisters to burn bras and drive social change.
    I thank God (if one exists) that this internet thingy exists to keep me alive and within the community of honest and direct humans with which I identify most closely. I thank that same God that I am Gay and proud in the heart of the deep south, in the jungles of Honduras or Brazil doing battle with the missionaries or just going to the supermarket here to face down the prejudice and hate with my head held high knowing I am not alone.
    Thank you, one and all for your courage, your bravery in the line of fire and for helping to inspire me to keep on keeping on in this battle for the freedom of all.
    At 55 I feel reborn because of the demonstrations that we are winning. http://activecitizen54.wordpress.com/

  • 36. M Keane  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:12 am

    It seems to me that the actions of religious organization's involved with prop 8 could constitute political lobbing. Tax exempt religious organizations have very limited allowable lobbing ability legally. I wonder if anything could be done to have their tax exempt status investigated and possibly removed.

  • 37. Woody  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I just can't follow pro-prop8 tweets or blogs. I'm having enough anxiety as it is!

  • 38. Hera  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:23 am

    FYI, the rules for Mormon marriages are:

    One living woman may be sealed (married in a temple ceremony that Mormons believe will continue after death and throughout eternity) to one living man.

    One living man may be sealed to a living woman so long as she's not sealed to any other men. If his wife dies, he may be sealed to another woman, thereby making him monogamous in life but polygamous after death because he'll have more than one sealing that will last through eternity.

    If he's divorced, he can be sealed to another woman while both women are alive, technically making him polygamous in life as well (but his ex-wife would not be able to be sealed to another man unless her sealing to him, the first husband, was canceled, sometimes incorrectly called a "temple divorce".)

    If a woman is dead and somebody's doing temple work on her behalf, they generally seal her to all the men she was married to during her lifetime (theoretically making her polyandrous for eternity, but if you ask most Mormons, they'll tell you she has to pick which man she wants to stay with forever).

    So, while there's no polygamy for living mainstream Mormons, there's a future of polygamy for many who are married more than once during their lifetimes, including a couple of the church's Apostles.

  • 39. Hera  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Thanks, Laura, for bringing these things together. I've been noticing the same things and am glad I'm not the only person interested enough to be paying close attention to such a crazy-making statements.

    One of Pugno's that stuck out like a sore thumb yesterday was his weekly summary that mentioned how internal records and correspondence among Baptists and Catholics was examined, yet there was no mention of the Mormon documents that were the subject of 20-30 minutes of argument back and forth. Also interesting was the way he tagged the article on his Pro-8 blog – a tag for Baptists, Catholics and a couple of others, but no tag for Mormons.

    He seems to be bending over backward to avoid mentioning Mormon involvement in the trial, yet it's so clear Mormons had more than one finger in the cookie jar. So much spin, it could make a person nauseated.

  • 40. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I disagree. My S.O. is immutable. There is no way I can change it; believe me, I tried. I lived as if I were heterosexual for most of my life. But even though that's how I lived, I wasn't heterosexual. I am lesbian. I have been since birth. There's no way to change that.

  • 41. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:50 am

    The Mormon/LDS church obviously has a LOT of power and influence in this political issue.

    And isn't it interesting how the Evangelical Christians, who denounce Mormonism and label it a cult, happily joined hands with them as allies in this effort. My, how two-faced of them.

  • 42. fern  |  January 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Being Belgian, living in Belgium, I followed the prop8 stuff since its inception and was shocked by the amount of money wasted by the "good Christians", the lies and misinterpretations. I was also upset with "untamed"Tam, mentioning the Netherlands, after what I've read about prop8 and the people supporting it I'd rather live in the Netherlands, and if I'm asked for information by American tourists I'll ask them if they're pro or con SS marriage, and if they're con I'll tell them to get lost.
    Not much else I can do.
    Keep up the good fight.

  • 43. Dieter M.  |  January 23, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    All I got by clicking there was a snarky joke about an error message and that I shouldnt be on the site…don't get the joke…or the purpose of your link

  • 44. michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Keeping their involvement to a minimum seems to be very important. Because of course most of those other faiths do not consider LDS as Christians at all. NOM very conveniently does not ever mention LDS either.

  • 45. michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    What about Straightots…..Seems clever and fitting.

  • 46. michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Have you joined the facebook page that Calvin Started?
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=43024709571

  • 47. michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Hera,
    Polygamy is Polygamy here or on planet Kataine, in this life or the next.

  • 48. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Michael, I just joined; thanks for posting the link. :)

  • 49. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    I really don't care what the Christians–Catholic, Evangelical, Baptist, Mormon–believe. I don't care what rules they live by. That's their faith and their choice.

    And I support their right to vote according to what they believe; I do the same.

    But I will not sit quietly by while they pass legislation mandating that I live according to what THEY believe.

    They deliberately lie to their congregations and to the public; and they solicit donations based on these lies. That is criminal, and they need to be held accountable.

  • 50. Roger  |  January 23, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    And The Netherlands are most definitely not to be confused with the Nether Regions!!

    Holland is one (more correctly, two; North Holland and South Holland) of the 12 Provinces of the present-day Kingdom of The Netherlands, which is a federation comparable to the United States. I have had Dutch friends all my life, and they are one and all very proud of their own provinces — call a Guelderman a Hollander and he will smart just as a Texan would if you called him a New Yorker..

    Nonetheless, the English custom of referring to the whole country as "Holland" is of long standing, from the days when Amsterdam in North Holland was the home port of the Dutch trading fleet and the home base of the Dutch empire. The Dutch are used to it, though they will correct you politely. "Holland" and "Nederland" have the same meaning, low country.

    The history of the Low Countries — which stretch from Schlezig-Holstein (now in southern Denmark), through the Rhine delta provinces of Germany to Belgium, is long and fascinating, but this isn't the place to go into it..

  • 51. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Woody, I feel the same way. I've wandered over to their sites a couple of times, but I had to leave quickly. I just couldn't stomach all the hatred and lies.

  • 52. Paul  |  January 23, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    — Whip up the troops! Guard the Mormons!!! —

    Spot on Laura! I did the same. But instead of tweets, I’ve been doing the comparison by reading the daily reports from PM and ADF, and then comparing them to that of NCLR’s Shannon Minter.

    They're not even talking about the same trial.

    Everyone telling the story from their own perspective — fine. “Here’s what occurred, and this is what it means to us.”

    Not happening.

    And more importantly, Prop 8’s posts are being done by their lawyers. So they certainly know better. Which means that they are knowingly, purposefully, and deliberately lying. Not slanting, or spinning, BLATANTLY LYING. Thereby begging the question of, why?

    Since the only ones they are talking to are their base, the only thing that makes sense is that they're looking to ensure that their base remains enraged — and thereby perfectly primed to be bilked out of money, so as to ensure the ongoing feathering of the nest of PM, ADF, NOM, etc. After all, those lavish lifestyles don’t come cheap. But there's something else.

    Prop 8 is clearly trying to keep their coalition together for the next fight — regarding which there is a particularly telling omission in their reporting.

    On the day of the trial when the religious aspects of the Prop 8 campaign were explored, our side reported about the testimony, specifically identifying the Catholics and the ***Mormons***. While on the other side, Prop 8 talked about the Catholics and the ***Southern Baptists*** — with no mention of the Mormons.

    Interesting.

    It appears that the other side is extremely worried about losing their Mormon allies. Which, as we now well know, singlehandedly provided mountains of cash, and more foot soldiers than grains of sand on the beach. Indeed, so many foot soldiers that they even had enough to waste on the futile effort of knocking on every door in West Hollywood (yeah, West Hollywood).

    Prop 8 is well aware that the Mormons are extremely skittish about anything that even hints of adverse publicity. So it’s in Prop 8’s own, selfish, best interest to do everything they possibly can to assure that the spotlight stays off the Mormons — even if they have to throw the Southern Baptists under the bus in order to do so — and they did.

  • 53. mattbuck  |  January 23, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Gaargh. Curse you and your analysis. Now I have _another_ huge set of things to read. I'm just getting further and further behind, at this rate I'll never graduate.

  • 54. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Well said, Paul!

  • 55. Todd  |  January 23, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Aha, there was a ")" at the end of the URL. You should be able to read it here: http://zackfordblogs.com/2010/01/late-night-twitt

    Love,

    Todd

  • 56. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Reading the article covering Friday's proceedings as recounted by ADF on the Christian Post website, I noticed at the bottom that the article was submitted by members of the legal team defending the California marriage amendment….

    The wording in the article is almost identical to the tweats sent in by ADF.

    So, is this a one-man show–namely Pugno?

    It seems he is putting much more time and effort into the trial SPIN than in the actual proceedings.

    Who is REALLY paying his salary?

  • 57. michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Your Welcome!

  • 58. michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Preach on it Girl!

    XXOO

  • 59. michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Paul I don't think that is all it is. For years all of those faiths have not agreed on anything. Southern Baptist, Catholics, Evangelicals etc have agreed that Mormons are not Christians however. Because of all the talk about the Mormons being a sacrilegious cult they do not want to expose that they are in bed with the group that they usually despise and have preached against for years and years. Considering all the bad press that Mormons have gotten they are trying to contain anything further. There is also that documentary coming out all about this. So they are trying to downplay how factual that movie really is.

  • 60. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Thanks for the clarification. :)

  • 61. Jane  |  January 23, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I'm pretty sure Jesus can not wait to dance at all of our weddings. He was that kind of guy.

  • 62. Jason  |  January 23, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I got this off of the nine moons site and it blew my mind! It's one commenting on another mormon's post about the church asking for money to support Prop 8.

    /// Thank you so much for sharing. I know that the Proposition 8 situation is difficult for some members to understand. I personally don’t have a problem with same-sex marriage, and I don’t understand why the church is so adamant in asking us to support the proposition, but I’ve been blessed in the past for obeying my priesthood leaders and am willing to do so once again. Your story only strengthens my resolve to do “the right thing” even if it doesn’t make sense why I’m doing it.

    Comment by Momma — August 7, 2008 @ 4:13 pm///

  • 63. Santa Barbara Mom  |  January 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    First of all, Mormons ARE Christians; Christ is the cornerstone of the religion, thus the correct name of the church "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". Polygamy was outlawed in the church over 100 years ago and anyone practicing polygamy since that time would be excommunicated.
    And I guess none of you read Rick's blogg a couple of days ago requesting the religious bashing be stopped because all of the Courage Campaign's research has shown that it is COUNTERPRODUCTIVE to our cause.

  • 64. michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I read every comment on that thread and let me tell you some of them shocked me to my core. "Follow the Prophet…Follow the Prophet…..Follow the Prophet….."
    Scary. Went to the website also the list the mormon donors and the comment there were kind of odd too.
    Seems that a lot of mormon were not really happy being told to pay or else risk the consequences in the afterlife.
    Seems a bit Jim Jones to me.. Seems you just follow your "Being Called" or "calling"

    Found it odd that the LDS have their members tax records and keep track of "monetary weekly donations"
    wonder if disclosing all your income and property is part of the Buy in Plan to mormonism.

  • 65. Dieter M.  |  January 23, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    is your gay son single?….lol

  • 66. michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Mom,
    I was not intentionally bashing anyone's religion. If it appears that way I am sorry. Anyone is entitled to their own faith belief. I was discussing what I found on a Mormon website and commenting on their discussion, and sharing it with others. My comment about LDS not being Christian is the view shared by most other Christian Communities. Do I feel that way no. But I was raised to see it that way by my Faith Views,
    I apologize if I have offended anyone by sharing what I found and having a discussion with another poster. My intention was not to "bash" anyone. My intention by going to their website was to view their prospective.
    And discuss it. Several posters of that faith have shared their views here and I saw no problem since it was raised by them to discuss it among ourselves.
    I was raised to respect and obey my mother and since you are also a mother I will respect and obey your request. I meant no harm. It may appear otherwise and for that I am truly sorry.

    Forgive?
    Please?
    Pretty Please?
    With Sugar on Top?

  • 67. michael  |  January 23, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    You crack me up…LOL

  • 68. Jason  |  January 23, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    I have Mormons in my family and so does my partner. I meant no harm to Mormons and feel they have every right to believe what they want and practice what they want. AND I have seen first had how controlling the bishops and presidents of the church can be. I'm not bashing in any way, I'm telling the truth.

  • 69. remix  |  January 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Thank you Laura. You're not alone, I've had the same experience the last two weeks, constantly refreshing the incredibly transparent coverage here and checking #prop8 tweets. The coverage here and now the transcripts from AFER have been riveting and revealing. But the ADF, ProtectMarriage and NOM tweets have been jacked up! Shouldn't be surprising that they are, BUT if it had been broadcast, it would be far more revealing how DECEPTIVE they are. I'm now behind at work because I'm obsessed too and am working this weekend to catch up, but I really feel like my own personal dignity is on trial. Particularly the dignity I lost the day Prop 8 passed. The Olson/Boies team have done such a wonderful job detailing our history and lives, I can't imagine how stubbornly and ignorantly closed-off you have to be to give the lame cherry-picked and blatantly dishonest updates that ADF, NOM and ProtectMarriage have been declaring. It's like it's Prop 8 all over again. I'm glad there's less of them and more of us. I also have to say (don't know who s/he is) that I do enjoy the mockery of ProtectMawwaige (on Twitter). It helps.

  • 70. BobbiCW  |  January 23, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Interesting that they keep missing the point that if SO isn't immutable (and that's the reason gays shouldn't marry) that means they, too, have a SO that isn't immutable — meaning it's also a good reason why straights shouldn't marry.

  • 71. Bry  |  January 23, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I find it interesting I wasn't the only one to catch on to that first quote about the newspapers on their blog, I saw it and I went through here AND Firedoglake looking for where he supposedly "admitted" to it, finding nothing. These people are depraved sociopaths

  • 72. Nakhone  |  January 23, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Great job with this post Laura. You should totally go to Law School. You'd be a fierce lawyer. It's never too late!

  • 73. Tim  |  January 23, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    michael, I followed that link as well.Is it a business they are running, or a Church(Cult)?

  • 74. Gus  |  January 23, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Some of us are old enough to remember when Roman Catholics were not considered “Christians’ by the Evangelicals. This unholy union began as they started to fight the Culture War. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

  • 75. Tim  |  January 23, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Yes! Linda Yes!!!

  • 76. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Nope; 'straights' can marry as long as it's 'one man, one woman'. S.O. doesn't matter when it comes to marriage; only gender does. That's the whole point. By labeling SO as not immutable, they are attempting to disqualify us with regard to the strict scrutiny test. Also, if SO is changeable and fluid, then it's very likely (in their minds) that we're just going through a phase and it will eventually resolve itself and we will be hetero again; and then, goodness! What will we do if we're 'stuck' in a ss marriage??? Can you imagine waking up next to your partner one morning and thinking, 'My God! I'm not gay anymore!'
    (Ha! Sorry; but that image is just so darn laughable!)

  • 77. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Dieter, Dieter, Dieter….!

  • 78. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Gus, you're right. I grew up Evangelical, and then 'converted' to Eastern Orthodoxy. Oh my! My parents were so ashamed!

    I haven't shared with them that I am Atheist now.

    It has always struck me as funny the way the various churches claim exclusive rights. I imagined Heaven being sectioned off. "Okay, Catholics have the northwest corner, Baptists–northeast; let's see, Mormons, we'll put you over in the southwest; how about putting the unitarians in the middle, that should work; and we'll leave that southeast corner for the Evangelicals."

  • 79. Linda  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    I'm having to catch up with work this week-end, too. I just can't seem to focus on that while the trial is going on.

  • 80. Alkanshel  |  January 24, 2010 at 1:54 am

    Yeah, a lot of the people I talk to didn't even know there was a trial going on. Some of the responses I've gotten are 'wasn't that over last year?' and 'there's a trial?'

    …Yeaaaaaaaaah.

  • 81. fern  |  January 24, 2010 at 2:05 am

    Linda you seem to forget the hatred from Roman Catholics for the protestants, (religion wars in the 16th century) the fact that those three got together although surprising, made me think about the waning powers of religions, the Roman Caths. have to import priest from Africa to serve in Georgia, they have the hardest of time finding new priests.
    To a certain extent, since they lost on abortion they had to prove the religious side was still yielding tremendous power, of prop8 Tony Perkins said "this is a battle we cannot lose". It made me think at the time that being gay or not mattered less than the show of power they demonstrated.

  • 82. Santa Barbara Mom  |  January 24, 2010 at 2:08 am

    Thank you, Michael. Jason you will find controlling people in any organizaion. You talk so much about the hate you feel from many religions (and I understand your feelings, I really do), however all I hear coming from this side is hate towards them. And they, too, have felt that message loud and clear. Why is it then that I have a shirt that reads Love Conquers Hate? As I said before, sometimes you have to just agree to disagree, but the finger should be pointed at our judicial system. Are they not the experts on our constitution? Why is equality even being debated…….rights are not meant to be negotiated. Who allowed prop 8 to be put on the ballot? When Judge Walker reviews all the facts from the experts, regardless of the emotion behind the testimonies, hopefully he is going to make things as they should be.

  • 83. NetAmigo  |  January 24, 2010 at 2:19 am

    It is for this reason as well as the inherent inaccuracy of simultaneous blogging that I prefer to wait a day and read the actual transcripts of the trial. You may download them here in pdf format after about 8 am for the prior day's activities.
    http://www.equalrightsfoundation.org/our-work/hea

  • 84. Linda  |  January 24, 2010 at 2:47 am

    Oh, I wasn't attempting to make an exhaustive list of what religions have hated what other religions. It seems that the hallmark of any given religion is their exclusiveness to the 'truth', and so they naturally disdain/hate/barely tolerate any other versions.

    In this instance, though, their collective hatred of us has actually given them a common ground. That was my point. :)

  • 85. Linda  |  January 24, 2010 at 2:59 am

    Santa Barbara Mom–I don't agree that all that is coming from this site is hatred toward religions. I think, rather, that it is hurt and anger towards religions that label us as second-class at best; sinful, cursed, demonic, hellbound at worst.

    Perhaps we have gotten too specific in our criticisms of the various denominations involved in this war against us. But honestly, I have a little difficulty feeling bad that those who oppose us get their feelings hurt when they read the comments on our site.

    I do believe that the stance the leadership of all these denominations have taken in denying us our rights do NOT reflect the feelings of many of the individuals who adhere to those denominations. I understand that many are following the lead of their religious superiors, because they sincerely think that is what they should do.
    Even though, if they were given their own choice, they would act differently.

    That is not unlike the torment many religious LGBT go through when trying to come to terms with themselves, and many of us on this site have experienced that. To those who are struggling with dual allegiances of faith and conscience, we are truly sympathetic. You are welcome in our 'family', and it is not our desire to hurt or offend or alienate you.

  • 86. Laura Kanter  |  January 24, 2010 at 3:10 am

    I am profoundly grateful to Rick and Julia for this opportunity to share my thoughts. I am so proud to be part of this passionate, intelligent and beautiful family.

    This is an amazing discussion and I wish we could all be a in room together and talk and learn from one another for hours and hours and then scheme about how we are going to implement the "homosexual agenda." (You know, equal rights and doing our laundry…) I am going to go back through and try to respond to the comments.

    I do appreciate the geography lessons and the help with my spelling. I hope someone doesn't use my blog post as evidence that Denmark is in the Netherlands or that there is only one way to spell "pray."

    I hope to see some of you on twitter next week! It should be really interesting to see how the tweets change once they have their own witnesses on the stand.

    Stand up. Speak up. Fight back.

    Yours,
    Laura (the agitator)

  • 87. RAL  |  January 24, 2010 at 3:29 am

    Santa Barbara Mom wrote:

    "Polygamy was outlawed in the church over 100 years ago and anyone practicing polygamy since that time would be excommunicated."

    That's true but its a bit more complicated than that. Though the mainstream LDS denomination no longer practices polygamy in this life time, there is still post-humous polygamy. LDS Priesthood holders can be and are sealed to more than one woman. Take Dallin Oaks for example, who, not that long ago, was sealed to a second wife in the Temple after his first wife died. By contrast, LDS woman cannot be sealed to a second husband.

    I bring this up because all the literature opposing same-sex marriage stresses the ONE man, ONE woman concept. Strictly speaking, the Salt Lake Church has a more nuanced take on all this. I'm not in any way suggesting Mormons have no right to their belief system. I just feel there is an element of deception in some of the public discussion that comes from official Church channels.

  • 88. michael  |  January 24, 2010 at 3:35 am

    LOL…funny stuff….you made me smile!

  • 89. michael  |  January 24, 2010 at 3:54 am

    Thank you for excepting my apology.

    I

  • 90. Ronnie  |  January 24, 2010 at 4:26 am

    We are a family… like a giant tree…….

    I am telling you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    hehehehe……..KISSES!

  • 91. Linda  |  January 24, 2010 at 4:30 am

    Ronnie, you are ON today, aren't you?

    If you listen closely, you can hear their voices….:)

  • 92. RAL  |  January 24, 2010 at 4:47 am

    My apologies Santa Barbara Mom.

    I hadn't yet read many of the comments upstream that already covered the LDS belief system with respect to marriage. I see I contributed to some re-hash. My bad.

    I'll offer one other argument that relates to your post about the point whether Mormons are Christian or not:

    I firmly believe that they are. One's definition of Christianity just needs to be broad enough to include them. In other words, one can define Christianity to exclude Mormons, and that is usually done by denominations (and persons) with a self-serving reason to do so. Or one can take a sufficiently broad historical perspective and acknowledge there are more than 1000 denominations that fit under the definition of Christianity, Mormonism being one of them.

    Similarly, Mormon leadership could choose to define CIVIL marriage in a broad enough way to include gays and lesbians, (while leaving their own, personal, doctrinal definition intact) — or they can continue to define CIVIL marriage in a way that excludes gays and lesbians.

    Being excluded, as GLBT people and Mormons alike, know, doesn't feel very good.

  • 93. Ronnie  |  January 24, 2010 at 5:00 am

    To Linda….. If I woke up and said i'm not gay anymore next I would look down and in a mirror to see if I had a sex change over night…..lol!

    But I have said (to myself, quoting Margaret Cho) to an ex boyfriend:

    I Fu<k!ng H8te you!….. I hope you never wake up!……. I wanna put this pillow on your face so bad!…… I would kill you if I could get away with it!….. and like M.C. said that's when he woke up…

    (him) What are you doing?

    so i say "I was just thinking about us"

    "It's terrible when the relationship is over but only you know"

    Bwaaaaaaaa!!!!

    Why do straightees want to deny us the right to spousal abuse? Domestic partner abuse just doesn't sound right…. What am I a beer(Coors Light!)?….LOL!

  • 94. Linda  |  January 24, 2010 at 5:07 am

    Ronnie, Ronnie, Ronnie…..methinks you've had too much coffee this morning…..or maybe not enough??? :)

    Margaret Cho is a scream, though, isn't she?

  • 95. Ronnie  |  January 24, 2010 at 5:08 am

    I hear them!!!! God is that you?

    Does everybody really wear all white in Heaven? Because I just love a white party!…..hehehe

    The Voices are saying……… You got fight for the right to MAAAAAR – REEEEEEY!

    Actual reality….act up…… fight hate!

    hehehe

  • 96. Linda  |  January 24, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Well you're certainly 'acting up'…! :)

  • 97. Sharmyn  |  January 24, 2010 at 5:58 am

    I'd like to say that I have many Christian friends who care deeply for all people, regardless of SO. Please don't "throw the baby out with the dirty bathwater" when it comes to Christianity. What Jesus taught was love and compassion. We're just not always very good students.

    A truly inspiring read is "Jesus, The Bible, and Homosexuality" — which really gets down to the nitty-gritty about why it is that some people feel so passionately about this subject.

  • 98. Ronnie  |  January 24, 2010 at 6:32 am

    Love her….when ever I'm sad I pop in her notorious c.h.o. special and sad tears turn into happy tears…lol

  • 99. B  |  January 24, 2010 at 8:20 am

    With regard to the question of sexual orientation being immutable, it is worth pointing out that the only real counter-example they could come up with was some research by a professor at Columbia named Spitzer. Spitzer looked at the self-reported success stories for "reparative therapy" (the euphemism for pyschobabble to change your sexual orientation) and found that some of the successes seemed to be real. The catch is that these were a tiny fraction of those who tried. It's irrelevant to the case – just because a very few people might have mutable sexual orientations doesn't mean most do.

    Suppose, for example, that we found some individuals who could change their skin color. That's not completely outlandish – most of us do that after spending some time at the beach. Normally the change is a result of sunlight exposure, so you'd need a mutation that would allow that change to be triggered at will. If that were to happen, it would not mean that racial minorities were no longer a suspect class, if only because hardly anyone would have that mutation.

  • 100. Santa Barbara Mom  |  January 24, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Perfectly stated, thank you Sharmyn.

  • 101. Sharmyn  |  January 24, 2010 at 9:05 am

    You're welcome, SBM. I find that I've been the most wrong about people when I've lazily applied a caricature judgement about them, rather than take the care to get to know them personally. We cannot truly understand people if we lump them together, slap a label on them, and then judge them by the noisy behavior of the passionate extreme.

  • 102. Jay Allen  |  January 24, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I think we should start calling them the "Anti Gay Mormon Agenda" whenever we discuss the other side. Nice – clean and to the point.

  • 103. B  |  January 24, 2010 at 10:59 am

    As to Linda's comment about various religions stating that everyone else is going to Hell, there is a famous joke about that:

    Chemistry Final Exam Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

    Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law that gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed or some variant.

    One student, however, wrote the following:

    First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that, if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell.

    Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell. Because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay constant, the volume of Hell must expand proportionately as souls are added.

    This gives two possibilities:

    1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

    2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

    So which is it?

    If we accept the postulate given to me by Sandra during my freshman year, that “it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,” and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is endothermic and has already frozen over.

    The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is extinct…leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being – which explains why, last night, Sandra kept shouting “Oh God please somebody help me!”

    THIS STUDENT RECEIVED THE ONLY “A”.

  • 104. Laura Kanter  |  January 24, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I wouldn't be surprised if the tweets are prewritten by Pugno and the person tweeting has a list of them that they choose from depending on the testimony. When one of the tweets doesn't fit, they tweets are links to their websites or full-on sermons. From Friday afternoon on they went on some sort of bizarre tweeting rampage that began with a sermon on the overall meaning of the case… "At stake: Whether Americans forced to forfeit core of democracy by allowing small group to void a const amend adopted by 7 mil Californians…." (and this just goes on and on gets worse and worse. Then it seems they had gone to their PR people, (Frank Schubert and William Tam in disguise), who then went through the transcripts, made up whatever the hell they wanted to make it fit, and then tweeted line after line of pure bullshit. Its really something to see (http://twitter.com/ADFmedia) and I would love to have the time to go through it line by line and rewrite it all, as it really happened (at least according to the transcripts).

  • 105. Laura Kanter  |  January 24, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Here here. Rebutt away. We need as many rebutters as we can get.

  • 106. Laura Kanter  |  January 24, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    One of the thoughts I had while reading about the testimonies, especially Dr. Herek's day long testimony and the grueling cross examination which included endless questions about defining "homosexuality" (and really proving that anything other than heterosexuality actually exists) was that they should apply as much scrutiny to being Christian. If they held themselves to a similar litmus test for being Christian as they do for being LGBT, they'd be out of a religion. Karla, my wife, is Christian, and comes from an amazing, supportive and very spiritual Christian family. The behavior and rhetoric of the prop 8 proponents is a source of great pain for them (and we are talking about a Black family from the south, still in the south; Baptists, Protestants, and Episcopalians,). Whatever the prop 8 proponents are preaching isn't any part of her family's religion. That is for sure.

  • 107. Laura Kanter  |  January 24, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Doesn't it just piss you all off?

  • 108. michael  |  January 24, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    I agree with you.

    Have you been following this:
    http://twitter.com/protectmawwiage

    It kind of puts their B.S. in perspective.

  • 109. michael  |  January 24, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    B,
    That is some funny Sh*t! Great job. I hope you got an A+ last night…LMAO

  • 110. michael  |  January 24, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    I am starting a new job this week and I am almost tempted to ask for an extension until this trial is over

    I am also dying to find out what could be on that video that they are showing Tomorrow. Reading about it will be cool maybe they will post the video on one of the webpages.

    I also have a funny feeling that the defense only has 2 witnesses so they make make the Bible the 3rd! Wonder if they will….

  • 111. Laura Kanter  |  January 24, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Well said David. The thing is, they aren't victims. They have not been persecuted or denied equal rights or access or safety on a daily basis. The projection is so ridiculous and so wrong. My wife, Karla, said, "What are they afraid of? That a gang of gay men is going to break into their houses and redecorate?" (Now now, friends, she was kidding you know,!) I think the propaganda totally inflates their fear – and I also think they are full of shame and that is why they want to hide. They have been projecting their own shame and self-loathing onto our community and we have said enough. No more. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We are giving their shame back to them on a platter and they are running into the closet to hide. It just isn't popular to be a hater.

  • 112. michael  |  January 24, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Dangerous Depraved Sociopaths because they have a huge following that hangs on every word they say and except it as truth unquestionable.

  • 113. Laura Kanter  |  January 24, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    For a long time I avoided paying any attention to "the man behind the curtain." It isn't like we haven't heard and seen the propaganda for our entire lives. But this time, I think because I was able to see the tweets from our side happening at the exact same time as theirs, I could really see the "spin spun on the spot" (as I said in my post) . Somehow this allowed me to feel more empowered to attack the lies in the moment. And it was empowering – really. I was able to look things up, check facts, and then do my best to at least get the little bit of truth out there.

    For example, William Tam, as crazy as he is, referred to the work of geneticist Francis Collins, who is the current director of the NIH and also developed the human genome project. Tam and also many others in the anti-equality movement/ pro prop 8 groups, claim that Collins (appointed by Obama to the NIH) has refuted any possible genetic basis for homosexuality. This is a blatant lie and misrepresentation of Collins work. But they continue to refer to him as "the" expert to support their position. I admit that at times, I do get super annoyed and a sometimes kind of ill, seeing lie after lie, twist after twist, but I am glad I have finally started taking the time to look into their claims – to really get to the facts – so when I tell someone they are full of shit I can do so resolutely.

  • 114. Laura Kanter  |  January 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Thanks. Its all the talk about religion. It gets me confused.

  • 115. Laura Kanter  |  January 24, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I so want Rachel Maddow to do an "expose" and have the amazing Kate Kendell from NCLR be on her show. Or heck, I think Kate Kendell should have her own show.

  • 116. Laura Kanter  |  January 24, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Thanks for this. So interesting. It also seems like a very compassionate procedure..

  • 117. Laura Kanter  |  January 24, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Or, policy, I guess. is a better word. Gosh – you can't go back once you hit enter, huh!

  • 118. Laura Kanter  |  January 24, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Sadly the people who really believe this were brainwashed before prop 8; this stuff just reinforces what they have been told all their lives. We have so much work to "un"do. That is why telling stories like yours is so important – and so important in places like Indiana. I often think Karla and I should get out of Orange County and go to LA or San Francisco; but they don't need us there. Hang in there in Indiana.

  • 119. Laura Kanter  |  January 24, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Greetings everyone –

    Not even sure I should advertise this in case I bomb, but I am going to be on a podcast discussing this tomorrow evening. (No, seriously, I'm not kidding.) Here is a link if you want to check it out!
    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/jaysays/2010/01/26/c

  • 120. A Mom  |  January 24, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Sharmyn – your words struck a cord with me. So true – it's wrong to pre-judge and develop a perception of an entire group of people or even an individual person based on an experience with a small faction of that group or one person.

    When Prop 8 was going on the ballot, I felt it important to show my support of marriage equality with a yard sign (to my husband's dismay – he didn't want to 'rock the boat' with the neighbors).

    After 15 years of celebrating and supporting each other in times of need, we learned a lot about each other from this one act. Guess I'm a little naive, but I was surprised at the number of neighbors who said I was "brave" to put a sign in my yard; but it prompted a dialogue about the difference between DP/Marriage and equality itself. Some neighbors were educated and vowed to vote NO; some already felt the same way I did and gave us a closer kinship; a couple others promptly put up their 'protect marriage' signs and no longer speak to me or return a wave when they drive by.

    What I learned the most was how important it is to speak out, share stories, and let your feelings be known. You never know who you can 'educate' and move us closer to true equality. You may lose a few *friends* along the way, but you'll gain a much closer relationship with others.

    Love & truth are on our side – we WILL prevail!!

    I so appreciate the opportunity to participate with all of you wonderful folks. Your stories are inspiring – and heartbreaking. It's our job to teach so the next generation will not suffer the bigotry and indignation that you and my children have.

    May your strength and hope be renewed by the commitment of this community.

    Love,
    A (SoCal) Mom who loves you all

  • 121. michael  |  January 24, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    A Mom,
    Thank you for that. It was very touching to read.

    Bless you!

  • 122. Sharmyn  |  January 24, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Good luck, Laura!

  • 123. allison  |  January 24, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    i was lucky enough to receive a cornucopia of info contained within your tweets this past week. sure do appreciate your work. and, just the smallest comment on the 'mormon bashing': i too, have a multitude of mormons in my family. plz let us not forget that the "living prophet" received a revelation from God to stop polygamy just as the U.S. Federal Govt was slamming down their hammer AND Utah was trying to gain statehood. (ain't that convenient though :) also, because their "living prophet" received a revelation from God, (just in the nick of time), Blacks were finally allowed into the Temple and allowed the 'priesthood' in the 1970s as the Federal Govt was bringing down their civil rights hammer upon them. now, their is much to be said for the argument that the mormon church is trying hard to 'attach' to the 'christian right' to make themselves appear more mainstream. truth is, mormons are not Christians, not in the least. Christianity is a monotheistic religion. mormons believe Jesus and God are two separate and completely different deities. (and they know the name of the planet on which they reside… :) alas, it is strange the Christian right is bellied up to a polytheistic cult. i guess it is better than snuggling up with LGBT 😉 sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction… you just can't make up the kinda stuff in the 'book of mormon!' LMAO!

  • 124. Rightthingtodo TX  |  January 25, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Isn’t it possible that these problems result from society’s “discrimination” against homosexuals? This is the argument usually put forward by pro-homosexual activists. However, there is a simple way to test this hypothesis. If “discrimination” were the cause of homosexuals’ mental health problems, then one would expect those problems to be much less common in cities or countries, like San Francisco or the Netherlands, where homosexuality has achieved the highest levels of acceptance. In fact, the opposite is the case. In places where homosexuality is widely accepted, the physical and mental health problems of homosexuals are greater, not less. This suggests that the real problem lies in the homosexual lifestyle itself, not in society’s response to it. In fact, it suggests that increasing the level of social support for homosexual behavior (by, for instance, allowing same-sex couple to “marry”) would only increase these problems, not reduce them.

    I just ate and would like to keep my food down so I'm not going over to the originating site to check the answer to this question but was there any real data to support this claim? Not that I'm lending credence to this position but wondering if the statement should be debunked on its face or if the supporting data should be debunked?

  • 125. Mr.HCI  |  January 25, 2010 at 12:15 am

    From which anti-gay organization did you get your statistics?

  • 126. Kami Day  |  January 25, 2010 at 1:22 am

    I too am grateful for this community and for this blog. And I'm amazed at my queer friends here in Norman, OK, who don't even know this trial is going on! I would like to add that I was a member of the Mormon church for 44 years, and for a while after I left, I tried to think of good things to say about it, but I finally gave up on that. I have nothing good to say about it. I am estranged from my parents, brother, and sister because they contributed money to the Prop 8 campaign and worked actively for it. If you'd like to know more about the history of the Mormon church's treatment of LGBTQ people, and what Mormon (and ex-Mormon) activists are doing , I recommend http://www.ldsapology.org.

  • 127. jerek  |  January 25, 2010 at 2:19 am

    I think your missing the satirical point!

  • 128. Cali  |  January 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    @RightthingtodoTX, et al- Could it be that these statistics are skewed because there is a higher concentration of LGBT people in these areas, that there are more services for the LGBT community in these areas, and that people from outlying areas travel to these areas to access the services that are not available in their hometowns? It only makes logical sense.

  • 129. JonInSF  |  January 25, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Another interesting point is that all these upright, uptight, holy-roller, straight-all-the-way right-wing politicians who, shall we say, get caught with their legs in a wide stance… have no recourse to say that they can't help themselves, it's just the way they are. If Prop 8 has their way, these RW politicos MUST admit that they had a 'choice,' and they 'chose' to 'sin.' And not only the ones who are closeted: those who have hetero extramarital affairs had a 'choice,' too. A certain governor of SC should think about that….

  • 130. Laura Kanter  |  January 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    draNgNon – thanks for the comment. As far as that tweet goes – it was definitely one that stuck out for me – After going through the transcripts, I don't think the tweet accurately reflects what took place in the courtroom. I'd love to hear from someone who was there to get their take. But I really don't see from the transcripts that anything was "thoroughly debunked." I think Herek was pretty consistent in saying that for most people, sexual orientation is NOT changeable, even if for some people they may at some point exhibit non-homosexual behavior. I think that the defense may really believe what they are saying, but that is because they have such a limited, rigid, narrowly defined, black and white understanding of sexual orientation.

    It is exactly those types of emphatic, definitive tweets/comments that catch my attention because they serve to reinforce the propaganda.

    What is really interesting is that despite that comment by ADFMedia; a lot of the analysis that followed that day of testimony said the exact opposite.

    here are a few examples: http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/01/25/23989.ht
    http://www.wtop.com/?nid=104&sid=1858083
    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation/AP/story/1

    Anyway – that is my take. I thought Herek did an amazing job. I have been trying to get more info about the suspect class designation…

  • 131. Laura Kanter  |  January 25, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    You are definitely not alone. I loved loved loved your comment. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • 132. Laura Kanter  |  January 25, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Hi Santa Barbara Mom –

    Thanks for all your great comments. This one really made me think. We know that so many of us have been so hurt by people claiming to be practicing their religion. My wife is Christian, as is her entire family, and they are all truly supportive of us. In fact, the journey we have taken with them has been transformative on all sides; with her parents really changing the way they thought about us, about LGBT people, and about what it means for them to be Christian. They have started to stand up and speak out among their family members and in their community about the wrong that is being done in some churches and how it limits and hurts them as Christians. We definitely need to be accountable and stay away from any kind of bashing. I also feel so strongly that those who are doing the most extreme and damaging religious bashing are those people in the churches, the church leaders, and the groups like protect marriage, focus on the family, alliance defense fund etc… who promote such distorted religious beliefs.

  • 133. Laura Kanter  |  January 25, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    That passage is from the Family Research Council website; they are a right wing religious/political group that fights against marriage equality and just about any issue having to do with equal rights for LGBT people. Here is a link to the site: http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=if03h01

    As far as statistics, I would doubt they have any real data. They often refer to what is biased and not scientifically sound research, often conducted by themselves or some affiliated organization. Like NARTH. Also, they often take data out of context to support their propaganda.

    Does this make sense? I included that passage because one of the tweets was that LGBT people have more problems because we are LGBT… and that is the kind of thinking also reflected in that passage. And this is exactly the short sighted, narrow-minded, distorted kind of rhetoric that has always been used against us. It totally dismisses the difficulty of what it means to be LGBT in this society and suggests that if someone were living in a LGBT friendly place, all of those issues of living in a homophobic society would simply disappear?

    Maybe I should have made that more clear…

  • 134. Laura Kanter  |  January 25, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Here is a link to the site: http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=if03h01

    Its from Family Research Council website; they are a right wing religious/political group that fights against marriage equality and just about any issue having to do with equal rights for LGBT people.

    See the rest of my comment (#134?) below for more a response to this.

  • 135. Laura Kanter  |  January 25, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Thanks for reposting this on your site. I was trying to find out who you are? Are you a masked blogger? Nice blog.

  • 136. Laura Kanter  |  January 25, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Oh – see the response to Cali below… sorry to be confusing.

  • 137. Cali  |  January 25, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    The reason I suggested this is because of my own experience. My step-father is a F to M transman. He had to drive three hours from our rural northern California town to San Francisco for virtually all services that were required during his transition. It sure was fun to watch him going through "puberty" at forty-something years of age, though. :-)

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  • 139. Dave Barton  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:15 am

    This is a sharp, incisive and damn good read, Laura, plus I loved this gem:
    "They not only cherry pick; they turn the cherries into rocks."
    Beautifully stated.

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