Sunday, August 31, 2008

Proposition 8 at the grassroots

Recently I spent several mornings talking with voters door to door about Proposition 8, which would amend the state constitution to say that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. My walks were part of a group effort by people from multiple faiths. We were canvassing neighborhoods and learn which registered voters are in favor of Proposition 8 or still undecided. These voters will receive more information and get-out-the-vote reminders as the election nears. A classic grassroots campaign.

While talking with voters about Proposition 8, I realized several important things:

  • Many people are confused about Proposition 8 or do not know what it is. As I introduced myself and began talking about the proposition, I could tell many voters were trying to size up which side I was on. A number of people wanted me to clarify whether a Yes vote was "Yes on traditional marriage" or "Yes on same-sex marriage" before they gave me an answer.

    This means that the grassroots voter education movement is extremely important. People need to know exactly what they're voting for or against when they encounter Proposition 8. In this way, Attorney General Jerry Brown's biased reword of Proposition 8 may actually help the proposition more than it hurts it. Although Brown's "eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry" phrasing casts the proposition in a negative light, it makes it clear what "Yes" and "No" votes mean.

  • Proposition 8 has a good chance of passing. Very few people are undecided about Proposition 8, and opinions run strong among both supporters and opponents. At many houses I visited, voters would tell me their opinions on Proposition 8 before I even asked. This causes me to believe the outcome will be similar to that of Proposition 22, a similarly worded law that was passed by 61 percent of California voters in 2000.

    Sure, things are a little different this time around. Proposition 8 would carry more weight as an amendment to the state constitution, and public sentiment seems to be more open to same-sex marriage than it was eight years ago. But will this be enough to sway the outcome? Somehow I doubt it. Our canvassing effort only sent us to the houses of registered voters, and the majority were strongly in favor of traditional marriage. I'll admit I was assigned to precincts whose demographics are socially conservative, but it was comforting to realize that many folks have not changed their minds on this issue.

  • Apathy is the most dangerous opponent of Proposition 8. Because most people's minds are made up about the issue, Proposition 8 will be decided by how many people from each side show up at the polls. At that point it won't matter what the media thinks or says about same-sex marriage or even what popular opinion is on the issue. It's all decided by who registers and who shows up (or mails in their ballot). In this way, our democracy is beautiful. It requires you to care about local, state, and national affairs enough to make an effort to get to the polls. If there's any issue on the ballot that merits a supportive effort, it's Proposition 8. Please do all that you can to support its passage on Election Day.

6 comments:

Jodi said...

I heard there was something about this on the church site. Is this true?

Ant Quinn said...

Get post. It's amazing how apathetic the public is on many issues. My wife always says, "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for enough good people to do nothing at all". It might be Chinese or something, but it is good, and I'm afraid very true in our society today. I don't think people realize the difference they can make. It's sad to see grassroots activists get shunned by so many people. I've noticed a lot of them on campus trying to register people for the upcoming elections.

Chino Blanco said...

An estimated 65,500 adopted children are living with a lesbian or gay parent.

Gay and lesbian parents are raising four percent of all adopted children in the United States.

An estimated 14,100 foster children are living with lesbian or gay parents.

Gay and lesbian parents are raising three percent of foster children in the United States.

Millions of children in the United States have LGBT parents.

You're not denying marriage to "gays" ... you're denying marriage to "parents" - not something to be proud of in my book.

Sterling said...

@Jodi: There's quite a bit of information on the Church's standpoint here:

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/the-divine-institution-of-marriage

Probably 95% of the folks out walking precincts in our group were LDS. We did have a few Catholics with us.

Publicola said...

We have started a blog specifically to defend traditional marriage in California and to promote the passage of the constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot this November that retains marriage as between a man and a woman.

Please join us at http://calmarriagedefense.blogspot.com/.

Chris said...

While I don't agree with Chino Blanco's conclusion, I do agree that a huge battle has already been lost when we consider the huge number of children being raised by LGB&T (in the lexicon of the political left) parents.

To me personally, I have less issue with gay marriage per se when compared to the legal permission for homosexual couples to adopt and take in foster children. Raising children in an alternative lifestyle is more spiritually and societally destructive in my opinion than simply sanctioning what may be termed "gay marriage."

My opinions notwithstanding, I have every reason to support the Church's strong stance on Proposition 8. Were I a Californian, I would surely be doing something visible about it.

I am intrigued by the document on the Church website.