Cripes, just say what you mean!

Hot off the presses from

SACRAMENTO — Anti-gay marriage groups say California Attorney General Jerry Brown is twisting their words.

Supporters of a ballot measure that would ban gay marriage want to amend the state Constitution to say “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

But last week, Brown’s office changed Proposition 8’s ballot title and summary to say the measure seeks to “eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.”

Project Marriage coalition spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns says her group plans to sue to get the language changed back.

Uh, why? I don’t mind putting words in her mouth. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that she’s worried that might seem discriminatory. Or hateful. Or — and this is a rough one — less likely to get voted in.

Doesn’t the fact that saying what you mean on the ballot decreases the chances it’ll pass point toward something that’s bad for the voting public? And does Project Marriage think that they can successfully sue to euphemize their ballot without appearing to deceive the very voters they want to woo? What does that say about their regard for the voting public?

My problem with that is completely in addition to and beyond the usual argumentation:

  • It undermines marriage!
  • There are serious consequences!
  • Such as undermining marriage!
  • …which has…uh…serious consequences!

Anyone against same-sex marriage (you can call it anything you like – same-sex marriage, gay marriage, homosexual matrimony, whatever — the terminology in this regard is unimportant) reading this, please listen up. I’m trying to help you — especially if you live in California — by pointing out how you are being Animal Farmed out of legitimacy. The Protect Marriage coalition doesn’t think you’re capable of noticing that “only between a man and woman is valid or recognized” means the same as “eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.”

Oh, speaking of legitimacy: please explain to me again how anyone’s heterosexual marriage gets undermined when two men or two women tie the knot?

I know two things:

  1. Same-sex marriage has zero effect on my own marriage.
  2. Same-sex marriage, legal throughout the country, would be a tremendous boost in pride for me as a citizen. It would mean that we treat people fairly by offering all the same financial benefits and a shot at being happy together.

Organizations like “Protect Marriage” really get my dander up because “Marriage” is not under attack and does not need protection — except from those who would seek to use it as a tool of bigotry.

9 thoughts on “Cripes, just say what you mean!”

  1. Sarah

    Doesn’t the fact that saying what you mean on the ballot decreases the chances it’ll pass point toward something that’s bad for the voting public?

    No kidding.

    On a related note, the whole ‘definition of marriage’ thing really gets my goat. Because even with other hetero couples, I’m fairly sure the way I define my marriage isn’t the way they define (or would want to define) theirs. So why on earth would we want these nosey parkers to be writing ANY kind of definitions for anyone’s marriage, gay or straight?

  2. Cliff

    I don’t mind putting words in her mouth.

    Actually, I don’t even have to! quotes her as calling the rewording “misleading and prejudicial.”

    The irony there is just astounding.

  3. Tammy

    Actually, they are worried about it not passing as a result of the wording, and they have reason to believe it. There have been several studies showing that people are much more likely to vote to ‘define’ something as opposed to ‘eliminating’ something. It doesn’t matter that the two phrases mean the same thing.

    Americans, in general, aren’t very supportive of eliminating rights with their votes. Whoever changed the wording was probably aware of this bias. I think they can argue that the wording is now accurate as same sex couples currently have the right to marry (thanks to the CA Supremes and their proper interpretation of the law!) there so the redefinition is actually eliminating something, which wasn’t the case in previous years.

  4. tqe / Adam

    How fantastic!

    Every time anti-gay marriage stuff gets on the ballot in the US, it passes with a smaller and smaller percentage. Jenny sounds like she knows she’s on the losing end of the battle…

    Maybe, if she doesn’t like America, she could move away. I’d suggest Zimbabwe.

  5. Jul

    Adam, don’t you think the people of Zimbabwe have enough problems as it is?

    Great post, Cliff. I can never seem to bring myself to write about shit like this because it makes me feel like punching the computer too much.

  6. tqe / Adam

    @Jul: Well, yes… they have enough problems, but… maybe she’d start to understand what real problems are.

  7. Chino Blanco

    Jennifer Kerns and the ‘Yes on 8’ campaign crew invite you to attend their August 14th Open House in Irvine:

    Here’s the invite


    I’m wondering if those who’d deny civil rights to others don’t deserve to get their parties crashed?

    ‘Yes on 8’ RSVP? Need your advice.

  8. ann

    I agree that a lot of the arguments are silly. Hetero people have done more to undermine marriage (domestic violence, lousy preparation, no-fault divorce come to mind) than gay people could have had time to :) in the last couple of years.

    Don’t call it marriage and extend the legal and financial priveleges to other “zweckverbände” – i.e. other people living as family, and not necessarily having sex (aging siblings for instance)- and this very socially-conservative person will get out of your way. That would be justice.

    Don’t worry, I am not a Californian and our absentee ballots rarely get counted anyway.

  9. Chino Blanco

    This Thursday, August 14th, from 5:30 p.m – 8:30 p.m. at 2020 Main Street, Irvine, California:

    ACTION ALERT: Tell the Right-Wing Consultants NO to Prop 8!

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