Gary Lawrence: Familiarity breeds contempt (for Mormons)

Gary Lawrence, director of Proposition 8's Mormon grassroots effort.

The Brethren [the top echelon of Mormon leadership] have felt that the best way to organize and pass the Proposition is to have an Ecclesiastical arm and a Grassroots arm to the organization ... The senior folks who run the grassroots are LDS at the coalition and are headed by Glen Greener and Gary Lawrence.
Here's Gary, back in August, firing up his Mormon brigades ...

Why Mormons Are In This Fight:

If same-sex marriage advocates [win], the whole structure collapses -- the family, the nation, and in time civilization itself. The time has come for those of us who believe that God, not man, created marriage ... to take a stand and defend it.
(Gary's astounding post-victory TV interview after the break)

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Prop 8 enters the judicial fray

Historically, the courts have been the last line of resort for citizens whose civil liberties are threatened by their government. One such landmark case, Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, overturned the 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, which defended segregation on the grounds that the euphemistically titled "separate but equal" provision for public accommodation was, in fact, equal.  In the Brown decision, the court landed a swift blow to segregation by ruling that "separate but equal" provisions are "inherently unequal."

Today, the California Supreme Court has the opportunity to also assert its ultimate constitutional role--protecting civil liberties. This judicial function is the single component of our government that, prior to Bush 43, separated our democracy from "democracies" such as Iran and Kenya.  The San Francisco Chronicle reports the first positive signs to this effect:

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Council of Churches/ Episcopal Bishops sez overturn Prop 8

The lines often drawn on issues concerning gay rights is that all churches are against those rights. Indeed, you can regularly see posters here making such claims.

This is a simplistic statement that does not represent the reality. The real debate on the religious level is not between believers and non-believers. The debate is between those Christians who accept homosexuality and respect separation and church and state, and those churches that are theocratic. The later are the churches, which believe that they can legislate behavior based on belief. The later are anti-progressive. cle/ALeqM5gGRIalpVsv411_GOSMBWRdX-viBQD9 4H25U00

More below

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NAACP/Civil Rts Orgs say Court should overturn Prop 8

I am not sure if anyone has mentioned this, but the NAACP, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and other organizations (Asian, Mexican and several others) petitioned the California Supreme Court today to overturn Prop 8.

Here's the link:

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Nationalizing Prop 8: Chicago Join The Impact Protest

Also at Calitics

Today, all over the country, Join The Impact organized rallies to protest the passage of Proposition 8. We in California saw Prop 8 awaken a sleeping giant as thousands of people gathered, seemingly spontaneously, all over the state in the wake of the news that it had passed. It was an amazing sight but little did we know that that truly was just the beginning. A national people-powered marriage equality movement seems to have sprouted up virtually overnight.

As I'm in here in the Chicago suburbs for a friend's wedding (no, I wasn't invited by Barack...) I went into town to check out the Chicago Join The Impact protest at Federal Plaza. The Facebook event had more than 3200 RSVPs and there had to be twice that many people there today. At one point, I heard an announcement that the police were extending the area where people were permitted to stand; this place was bursting at the seams.

It was an extremely moving event because it was clear that I was witnessing nothing less than the birth of our generation's civil rights movement. Sign after sign said it all: "gay rights are civil rights." As a Californian too, it was fascinating to see so many people in Illinois rise up against what my fellow citizens did on November 4th. Someone was even holding a No on Prop 8 sign re-jiggered to read "Vote No On Pro-H8." There was a distinct "We are all Californians now" vibe to the whole thing but I think also that this national movement might not have sprung up if it had been any other state. People think of California not only as a bastion of liberalism but also as a bellwether for the rest of the country. They see gay marriage go down in California, for many, it is a sign that it could mean the end of gay marriage everywhere else, before it's even begun.

The passion in the voices of the speakers was moving as well. One of the organizers of the event stood up and expressed great frustration with Illinois Democrats at not having passed a marriage equality bill, not even a civil unions bill. "There is no state bluer than Illinois! There is no excuse!" I expect we'll see pressure all over the country for state legislatures to pass marriage equality legislation and if we don't, we should. He also acknowledged the importance that this movement not end today, which is a really important point. "We're not just blowing off steam here today, as good as that feels. This needs to continue!" In Chicago, the next action will be next Saturday outside the Century Theatre in Evanston, IL to protest the fact that Cinemark CEO Alan Stock donated $10,000 to Prop 8. Considering the intensity on display at the protest today, I suspect Stock is going to deeply regret that donation.

One man stood up and confessed that despite being a gay man, he wasn't really on board with gay marriage until recently. What did it for him: Keith Olbermann's special comment the other night. Another activist read from a well-written script and at a certain point was like "OK, I have to put this down. It's a beautiful speech but I have to speak to you from my heart" and he went on to speak personally and passionately about his refusal to allow his country to treat him as a second class citizen. "Not anymore! Not anymore!"

All over downtown Chicago there were banners on lampposts congratulating "Chicago's own Barack Obama" and it seemed rather appropriate that this protest should be surrounded by these banners. As Barack has said throughout his campaign for the presidency, "this is not about me, this is about you...change can only come if you demand it...change doesn't come from the top down, it comes from the bottom up." President-elect Obama may not be in favor of marriage equality as a policy, but the spirit of our first community organizer president was there at Federal Plaza today.

This has only just begun...

(more pics over the jump)

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