January 19, 2009

The tampons for technical achievement were given out previously at a separate ceremony

So marriage ban donors feel exposed by list, do they? It would be nice to think that the people who voted for Prop 8 don't want anyone to know it because they're ashamed of themselves. But in fact, they're just whiny cowards who didn't expect anyone to actually avail themselves of a law that's been on the books for 35 years requiring public accountability for all large campaign contributions.

In his suit, which is also being argued by the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal group, Mr. Bopp alleges a wide range of acts against supporters, including “death threats, acts of domestic terrorism, physical violence, threats of physical violence, vandalism of personal property, harassing phone calls, harassing e-mails, blacklisting and boycotts.”

Sounds serious -- but the actual complaint [pdf] is a joke. Here's a typical e-mail one Prop 8 supporter received: “I will tell all my friends not to use your business. I will not give you my hard earned money knowing that you think I don’t deserver [sic] the same rights as you do. This is a consequence of your hatred.”

Withdrawing financial support for people who hate you is not a form of terrorism, it's pretty understandable. It's actually rational as well as emotional. Some of the most exciting scenes in Milk depict Harvey Milk's use of economic leverage against the people who would run gays out of the neighborhood. As the film shows, it's a tactic that feels good, that's just, and that works. Don't want to lose gay business? The solution isn't filing a lawsuit to hide your support for bigotry, it's to stop being a bigot.

But what about those threats of violence? Yes, the complaint does allege (without proof) that one person got an unhinged e-mail from somebody evoking guns and 9/11. And it cites "news reports" of vandalism. But most of the messages relayed to Prop 8 supporters are along the lines of "burn in hell" (as if they'd never told any gay people that this what's in store for them) and "When you have one of your basic rights taken away from you, you’lll [sic] know how it feels to be discriminated against," which seems true to the point of tautology, if somewhat unlikely as a prediction.

Tellingly, many of the incidents cited in the complaint are not tied to the Prop 8 Google map or any other use of campaign contribution info. For instance, there are cases of "sign theft" and of one person having his window broken with his own "Yes on 8" sign -- which can clearly be traced to the fact that these people put up signs on their front lawns. Obviously that doesn't justify vandalism or threats (which, as many people have noted, are already illegal), but it's a weird thing to mention in a suit about exposing people against their wishes. Similarly, another e-mail mentions a picture of the recipient in the newspaper.

Look, threatening e-mails and phone calls suck and can be plenty scary. But you're kind of reaching when one of the best examples you can dig up is a message that says, "congratulations. for your support of prop 8, you have won our tampon of the year award."

Especially since it turns out that's actually the new name of the Grammy Awards. They changed it in an attempt to regain credibility.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Damn, all my favorite Public Enemy lines are becoming irrelevant. "We got a black quarterback" now seems a little underwhelming, and "who gives a fuck about a goddam tampon?" is just confusing.

My favorite irony in the lawsuit: The attorney for Protect Marriage, at the same time that he's claiming that Prop 8 supporters need to be protected from mean comments on websites, has the gall to justify his actions by saying, "The highest value in the First Amendment is speech." So, just to be clear: The First Amendment safeguards people's right to spend millions on misleading ads about Prop 8. But when anyone has the nerve to criticize those actions by, say, organizing a boycott of Prop 8 supporters, that's apparently when the government needs to shut things down. It's the classic web-commenter fight tactic: "I have a right to free speech, so you should just shut up."

Ironic isn't it that the same bigots who call men "faggots" as a way to define them as weak and defenseless now feel threatened by their sarcastic emails.

Sure, emails and boycotts are wimps' weapons. If they'd just punch them in the face like men it would be fine. One can only assume the lawsuit to be legal consent for being, if not a demand to be, punched in the face. Of course I'm no legal Siegel or anything. And for the record I don't think these people should get anything they want, including punches.

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