Prop 8 Plays The Barack Obama Card

It was inevitable that the fight over Prop 8 (the California ballot initiative that seeks to eliminate the right of same sex-couples to marry) would ultimately hinge on African-American support. Expecting a surge in African-American turnout for Barack Obama on (and leading up to) Tuesday, both sides are targeting black voters, who, as The Bay Area Reporter puts it, "have traditionally had conservative views on same-sex marriage."

In a desperate appeal to African-Americans, today the Prop 8 campaign distributed a mailer that played what can only be called the Barack Obama card:

(You can see the other side, which features four African-American ministers who support Prop 8 HERE)

This is an incredibly deceptive mail piece. The fact is that while Barack Obama and Joe Biden do favor civil unions to gay marriage, they have both been vocal about their opposition to Prop 8 (see Barack's initial letter stating his opposition to 8 HERE) and even issued a statement to that effect in response to the mailer today:

"Senators Obama and Biden have made clear their commitment to fighting for equal rights for all Americans whether it's by granting LGBT Americans all the civil rights and benefits available to heterosexual couples, or repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' While Senators Obama and Biden oppose same-sex marriage, they support civil unions," said a statement issued by campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt. "Senator Obama has already announced that the Obama-Biden ticket opposes Proposition 8 and similar discriminatory constitutional amendments that could roll back the civil rights he and Senator Biden strongly believe should be afforded to all Americans."

While not perfect, the statement actually does provide a framework for those who still are not comfortable with the concept of gay marriage to vote No on 8. In fact, making it about rights and not marriage has been central to much of No on 8's messaging. It's nice to see the Obama campaign not shirk from reiterating their opposition to 8 plainly today. And who knows, this may actually backfire on the Prop 8 folks since now far more people are likely to learn that Barack opposes Prop 8 than had previously.

Thanks, Prop 8!

In the meantime, No on 8 went up on the air yesterday with a TV ad of their own appealing to African-American voters in a far different way.

The difference in style and tone between the two ads could not be more stark and speaks to both the relative integrity of the two campaigns but also to the positions the two campaigns find themselves in 4 days out. That Prop 8 is resorting to such blatant deception tells me they are desperate and believe they are behind. Indeed, polling confirms their suspicions although it's way too close for comfort (Field has No beating Yes 49-44.)

So, please do what you can between now and election day to defeat 8. To donate, go HERE; to volunteer, go HERE (and don't forget to tell them MyDD sent you;) and check out my call to action post from yesterday to find out how you can spread the word to your friends and family in California to vote No on 8.

Tags: Barack Obama, California, Gay Marriage, Prop 8 (all tags)



That No on 8 ad

reminds me of the Grandfather I never met - Marvin Stanley.

Marvin Stanley was acting Chief of Police in Montgomery, Alabama on May 21, 1961.  My grandfather assured the FBI that there would be a full police presence at the Montgomery bus station when the Freedom Riders arrived.  My grandfather lied, the terminal was empty, and when the freedom riders stepped off the bus they were attacked with  baseball bats, chains, lead pipes and hatred by some 300 men and women who poured out of adjoining streets and alleyways.

Part of the rhetoric used to incite violence against the Freedom Riders was that there were "inter-racial orgies" going on among them.

I had the pleasure of voting "no on 2" here in Florida on Wednesday - our version of "8".  We have, fortunately, come some distance since my grandfather's time, but the travels of the Freedom Riders won't be fully complete until we just simply stop hating each other.

by chrisblask 2008-10-31 07:41PM | 0 recs
Gay marriage in Canada
What convinced a majority of Canadians to support gay marriage was then-Prime Minister Paul Martin's argument that it wasn't really gay marriage that was at stake but rather the basic human rights of everyone -- he demonstrated true leadership on this issue, to get Canadians to realize we should accept the court decisions about gay people having a right to marriage because it would simply be wrong to try to take away someone's human rights.
I am very glad to see someone make that argument in California.  I only wish it had been Arnold who had demonstrated such leadership.
by CathiefromCanada 2008-10-31 08:38PM | 0 recs
No need to excuse Barack Obama on this

There is nothing "desperate" about the Yes people using Obama's words against us on this one.  

The Obama/Biden campaign can put out all the press releases they like, but the fact is that both of our nominees explicitly oppose marriage rights for gay men and lesbians.  Both were asked directly during the debates, and both repeated their bigoted positions.  Shame on them.

If Prop 8 passes, Obama and Biden have to accept their share of responsibility.  If/when they are elected on Tuesday, we will have to go to work to make them change their positions.

Just because I'm voting for them doesn't mean I have to look the other way when they're wrong.

by DFLer 2008-10-31 09:37PM | 0 recs
I have to agree with you

Obama hasn't stood up for gay marriage. Period.

Saying that Prop 8 is divisive is one thing. Saying that gay marriage should be legal is another. Maybe I'm wrong, but I've never read or heard a statement by Obama where he stuck his neck out and praised the fact that CA allows gay marriage?

by twinmom 2008-11-01 06:10AM | 0 recs
Re: No need to excuse Barack Obama on this

If Prop 8 passes, Obama and Biden have to accept their share of responsibility

Amen.  Particularly Obama, who has shown NO leadership on this issue.  He could be doing something to help the cause, as a "progressive," but instead, he's given the "Yes on 8" crowd his own words to rally the religious crowd and conservative Democrats in California.

Hopefully Obama's watered down support of gays is not a preview of his progressive policies to come.  We already had that will Bill Clinton.

by reggie44pride 2008-11-01 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Prop 8 Plays The Barack Obama Card

I daresay Obama has been consistently in favor of rights, but he has been opposed to gay marriage from the start. I wouldn't suggest that they "yes on 8" people are wrong about this... I would say that Barack Obama is wrong about this.

by Tatarize 2008-11-01 01:55AM | 0 recs
I wish it were the RIght being deceptive here

Sure wish I could agree with you on this, but in this case, I'm afraid it's Obama who's being deceptive and using weasel words to get the traction he needs among those for whom this could be the make or break issue.

"I am opposed to gay marriage and I am opposed to opposing gay marriage."

Right. I see. Prop 8 codifies the position you've already taken, Senator.

Guys, you need to choose better battle. You're spinning this one way to hard. This is not Obama's finest moment--in fact it's one his sleazier ones, and it does not bode well.

I leaned waaay forward when that question came up, thinking: here's a chance for a guy whom I KNOW in his heart has to be foursquare in favor of gay marriage to take a stand on the part on the part of an actually oppressed minority rather than endlessly falling back on this we're-all-one-big-family crap. To what's right rather than what's profotable. To to take the first courageous stand in favor or against something he has since 2002--and that's a long time if you ask me. Inseatd, both he and Biden said that they're in favor of equal rights for everyone, except for the right to say people are married.

I live in Massachusetts and I've attended two gay weddings to date and when I heard those words drip from your two ambitious centrists I just thought: you OPPOSE this? In your view, those weddings should not have taken place?

And I knew at that point that I was done "believing" in "change."
If Obama could offer me one Constitutionally grounded reason why he opposes gay marriage I'd be fine (we'd just have the amend the not-so-sacred document). Instead we get the same blather as Obama starts triangulating even before he's elected. Four, eight, years of this? Why not just invite Dick Morris back into the fold now. Oh, right, we're getting Rahm Imanuel as CoS. Change. Yeah.

Forgive my skepticism, but this issue says a lot to me, and so does Obama's inability to stand up for equality. That or his odd way of defining it.

Similar stuff at

by gnashe 2008-11-01 07:35AM | 0 recs
Todd is WAY off base here

when he says, "This is an incredibly deceptive mail piece," suggesting that, " Barack Obama and Joe Biden... have both been vocal about their opposition to Prop 8."  Oh they have?  What TV ads and radio ads have they done?  What fliers have they helped the HRC create to distribute to voters?

That letter Todd links to is about the weakest piece of support you can imagine.  Pure pander politics.

Plus, PROP 8 CODIFIES OBAMA'S POSITION ON GAY MARRIAGE!!  What about this don't you get Todd?

by reggie44pride 2008-11-01 12:16PM | 0 recs
by reggie44pride 2008-11-01 12:49PM | 0 recs


Advertise Blogads