Sunday, October 26, 2008

Not teenage vandals against Proposition 102

During a discussion of the removal of a large number of signs in support of Proposition 102, a neighbor commented that he had seen an older male in a white SUV removing the signs from people's yards. The neighbor indicated that he jumped in his car and tried to get a license plate number, but the SUV driver realized he was being followed, and sped off. If you think that the removal of one type of sign from a whole street in a neighborhood is just teenage vandalism, then think again.

The news is buzzing with the story of major California corporations announcing huge donations to defeat Proposition 8. Sorry to say that Apple and Google are both prominently mentioned as opposing the Amendment. Just as with the idea that the sign removal is somehow a local prank, the idea that there are not huge vested interests promoting same-sex marriage is very, very naive. The situation reminds me of the conditions prevalent at the time of the destruction of the Nephites, where the people deliberately chose wrong doing. It is a sad commentary on our society, if we cannot muster a majority willing to support and preserve marriage.

If Arizona legalizes same-sex marriage, I, for one, will seriously consider moving out of the state.

Another video in support of Proposition 102

This is really a video produced in support of Proposition 8 in California, but it certainly applies in Arizona.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1815825713?bctid=1819819843

You may wish to send a link to this video out to your friends, neighbors and anyone else you can think of.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Preserving the Divine Institution of Marriage

Please take the time to view the new Website "Preserving the Divine Institution of Marriage." Please make all of your friends and family aware of the Website and put links to the site where ever possible. It is absolutely important that this message have as wide a distribution as possible.

http://www.preservingmarriage.org/ Preserving the Divine Institution of Marriage

Friday, October 24, 2008

Vandalism aimed at Proposition 102 Signs

These are photos of what is left of a large number of signs supporting Proposition 102 including the one in my front yard. This destruction is systematic, only targeting Proposition 102 signs. It is incredible that those opposing the Marriage Amendment can go onto private property and destroy signs. It is also incredible that these extensive acts of vandalism go unreported in the media.

I may not agree with my neighbors, but my disagreement does not extend to going onto their private property and removing their campaign signs, no matter what their political preference. This vandalism is symptomatic of the attitude of those opposing the marriage amendment, not only do they disagree, they believe we have no right to our opinions in support of marriage.


Sign sticks scattered in the street and on the sidewalk


A torn sign


Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Proposition 102 is one of many issues

It is always interesting to see how the news media handles current issues. I remember the reporting years ago during the Vietnam War era. The media was caught up in the day to day reporting of bombing raids and battles, along with reporting about the anti-war movements on the home front. Without going into a long analysis, the history books that are now coming out about the War paint a far different picture of what happened than that being presented in the newspapers and on the daily TV newscasts. With this long term perspective, I have learned to view any day-to-day reports on major events with scepticism.

Recently, the Arizona Republic has used the phrase "separation of church and state" in the context of the religious organization's involvement in supporting Proposition 102. Apparently, no one on the Arizona Republic newspaper staff has any background in history, political science or has bothered to read the U.S. Constitution. Separation of church and state involves the issue of government sponsored religions, such as the historical involvement of the Church of England or the Catholic Church in Spain and other predominantly Catholic countries.

Wikipedia has a fair discussion of this topic at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state#cite_note-39

The Wikipedia article contains a brief statement of the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The article says:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long held to the doctrine of separation of church and state originating in part from the long antagonism local and state governments have had towards their faith. Mormon writings have affirmed "[n]o domination of the state by the church; No church interference with the functions of the state; No state interference with the functions of the church, or with the free exercise of religion; The absolute freedom of the individual from the domination of ecclesiastical authority in political affairs; The equality of all churches before the law. The Church's official Articles of Faith, which outline the basic beliefs of the church, state that: "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law".40 41

The two citations are:

40. Clark, James R. (1965). Messages of the First Presidency. Brigham Young University, Department of Educational Leadership & Foundations.
41. Political Neutrality. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (2006).

Participation in the political process by advocating a moral position has absolutely nothing to do with the separation of church and state and references to that principal show the lack of understanding of those quoted and of the media representatives or reporters making the quotes. Claiming that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or any other church, violates the separation of church and state when expressing a position on a moral issue is at best, misleading and at worst propaganda. We have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

Let's focus on issues, not on unsupported emotional appeals to principals that have nothing to do with Proposition 102.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More newspaper coverage of Proposition 102

In addition to an editorial, labeled as such, against Proposition 102, on October 19, 2008, the Arizona Republic felt it necessary to run another editorial under the guise of a news article. The article, entitled "Churches can tout issues, not hopefuls" the Republic writer began her article by quoting a person who described herself as a "nominal Mormon." Right next to the article, in the on-line version, the Arizona Republic listed information on each of the propositions. It is noteworthy that Proposition 102 is not identified by its actual name. The Republic, decided to get in another editorial by refering to Proposition 102 as the "Gay Marriage Ban" instead of its official title.

The news article was directed at the issue of religious organizations' involvement in the political process. However, the Republic felt it necessary to start and end their article with references to the "Mormon Church." As an aside, why does the media always include a quote from someone who admits to either being inactive in or opposed to the target religious organization?

Buried in the middle of the article is the comment: "Attorney Ellis M. Carter, who specializes in charitable-organization tax work, said the law is on the churches' side. Everyone, including a non-profit, has a First Amendment right to speak out on an issue," Carter said."

The heart of the matter is this, as stated by Attorney Carter, religious organizations have First Amendment rights, just as does the author of the Republic article and just as the Republic itself has. Proposition 102 is not a "Mormon" issue, it is a fundamental concern of all those who believe in the sanctity of marriage. It is lamentable that the Arizona Republic somehow feels compelled to take a position that is clearly against the mainstream beliefs of the vast majority of people in Arizona.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Response to the Arizona Republic

The Arizona Republic in its lead editorial for Monday, October 20, 2008, came out against Proposition 102, the Marriage Amendment. It is incredible that the Arizona Republic would buy into the superficial argument that the Amendment is not needed because "the state already has a law prohibiting" same-sex marriage. I can only suppose that they didn't "buy into" the arguments, but intentionally, and knowingly, took the position it did, realizing full well that defeat of Proposition 102, will open the door to an immediate attack on the constitutionality of Arizona's existing law, just as was done in California, Massachusetts and recently, in Connecticut.

The Arizona Republic also argues that "Changing the Constitution is a very serious step that has ripple effects throughout the legal system." Why, if the law is unneeded, would Proposition 102 have ripple effects. The two positions are exactly opposite; either we already have a law or we do not have a law. If we have a law and a Constitutional Amendment is not needed, then adding the Constitutional Amendment will add nothing to the law. It is irresponsible to make a blatant double argument, and also claim that passing the unneeded law will have "unintended consequences."

One of the very intended consequences of Proposition 102 would be to prevent activists judges from declaring the current Arizona law unconstitutional. Passing a Constitutional Amendment is the only way to prevent this serious and harmful consequence.

The Arizona Republic editorial then has the audacity to decry the high divorce rate and the break-down of marriage in the United States and then claims that "Arizona could use strong advocates of marriage." Why would a "strong advocate" of marriage oppose a proposition aimed at shoring up the divine institution of marriage? It is obvious why newspapers, like the Arizona Republic have cut down the size of their print editions and are losing advertisers, they are entirely out of touch with the majority of the state.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Benefits of Proposition 102

One of my neighbors has a sign in support of Proposition 102 in his front yard. Almost every day the sign has been knocked over or destroyed. He is honored that he can participate in a cause that is so positive that someone feels it is necessary to destroy his sign every day.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Videos in support of Proposition 102

Here are a few videos in support of Proposition 102:

http://www.preservingmarriage.org/ Preserving the Divine Insitution of Marriage



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__rgv-sUpY0&NR=1 Discussion on Proposition 8

Thursday, October 16, 2008

TV ads on Proposition 102

I saw my first TV ad opposing Proposition 102 last night. The main statement was that we already had a law in Arizona and didn't need more. Also, that government has no business in the area of marriage. Lastly, they claimed that we had already voted on this issue before and with all the other important issues out there, we didn't need to be forced to vote again.

The first issue is true, but very misleading. It is true that Arizona already has laws regarding marriage, however, it is equally true that, absent a Constitutional Amendment, the Arizona Courts could overturn those laws at any time, just as was done in California and Massachusetts, and now most recently, during this campaign, in Connecticut. This strategy of the opposition is aimed at preserving their option to attack the laws in the Courts.

The second issue is pure propaganda and untrue. If government, including our judicial system, shouldn't interfere in the area of marriage, then why do the activist resort to the courts to change the law? They maintain that it is none of government's business to preserve marriage, but it certainly in the interests of the governments, i.e. the courts, to destroy it.

The last issue is even more misleading that the other two. Yes, there was a previous proposition that was defeated. No, it is not the same as Proposition 102. There is an implication that we shouldn't worry about marriage and the family because there are so many other "more important" issues out there. There are no more important issues right now, certainly none of those opposing Proposition 102 have proposed anything for this election addressing any of these more important issues. I haven't commented on any of the other ballot propositions, maybe I should, but some of them, like raising legislative salaries, have been voted and defeated in every election that I can remember. Is this one of those more important issues we should focus on rather than preserving the family and the sanctity of marriage?

Those supporting Proposition 102, the Marriage Amendment, have no hidden agenda. Read the Divine Institution of Marriage (see the sidebar) if you want to know what that agenda is.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Arizona has a law on marriage, so did California, Florida and Connecticut

There is is a totally irrelevant repetition of the claim that "Arizona has a law on marriage." This is a non-argument. California, Connecticut and Massachusetts all had laws as well!

Proposition 102 signs vandalized

News reports of the vandalism of signs promoting Proposition 102 are definitely on the increase. Unfortunately, many of the vandalism events, including stealing the signs, go unreported. In our neighborhood, a whole street's signs disappeared. Some of the news reports come from places around the State.

In Show Low, vandals struck the Calvary Baptist church the night of Sept. 22, directing their efforts towards a sign professing the church's support for Proposition 102.

See http://www.wmicentral.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20148442&BRD=2264&PAG=461&dept_id=505965&rfi=6

The senior pastor of the Church was quoted as saying: "It's what we're for, not what we're against," he said. "Marriage is a huge tenant of our society. And that's why you've had Catholics, Mormons and evangelicals come together and say, 'We are for what God is for and God is for marriage.'"

Here is a link to a site where the writers "cheered like crazy when we saw this vandalized sign."
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/10/13/193310/64

Another view:
http://sonoranalliance.com/?p=3112

Here is the ABC News report on the vandalism:
http://www.abc15.com/content/news/phoenixmetro/story.aspx?content_id=c6a70ac8-1b7a-4f6d-855e-b08cef4fedb3
It is interesting to read the comments.

It is also interesting that there appears to be no other systematic vandalism of any of the hundreds (thousands) (millions?) of campaign signs around the city.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Connecticut legalizes same-sex marriage

While constitutional amendments are pending in three states, the Connecticut Supreme Court struck down the state's marriage law as unconstitutional. For a New York Times article on the decision see:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/11/nyregion/11marriage.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Is there any better reason to vote for Proposition 102 than to allow a one judge majority to overrule the sanctity of marriage?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The need for a marriage amendment in the form of Proposition 102

One of the common criticisms leveled at Proposition 102 is that Arizona law already adequately supports marriage between one man and one woman and there is no need for a constitutional amendment. At the same time, opponents of Proposition 102 maintain that the proposed Amendment is "mean spirited" and would discriminate against those with same-sex relationships. These two positions are incompatible, a law cannot be unnecessary and discriminatory at the same time.

Those who claim that Proposition 102 is unnecessary are not being entirely candid, they know full well that unless the law is codified in the state constitution, any court in Arizona could hold the existing law to be unconstitutional and thereby void all of the existing laws, just as happened in California. They oppose Proposition 102 not because it is unnecessary, but because they would then lose the opportunity to challenge the existing laws through the Court system. Passage of Proposition 102 is necessary to foreclose that avenue of attack on the institution of marriage.

The further criticism, that the effort to pass Proposition 102 is a mean spirited attempt to deny people their "rights" and to discriminate, is also misdirected. When the California Court decided the marriage cases, they created rights that had never previously existed. The most recent case on this subject in Arizona is the case of Standhardt v. Superior Court ex rel. County of Maricopa, 206 Ariz. 276, 77 P. 3d 451 (App. 2003).

In that case, the Arizona Court of Appeals held as follows:

"Recently, in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, ----, 123 S.Ct. 2472, 2484, 156 L.Ed.2d 508 (2003), the United States Supreme Court struck a Texas statute that prohibited certain sexual activity between persons of the same sex. The Court reasoned that the statute impermissibly infringed on homosexuals' liberty interest under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to engage in private, consensual sexual activity without state intervention. Id.
In the wake of Lawrence, we are asked to declare that Arizona's prohibition of same-sex marriages,Arizona Revised Statutes (“A.R.S.”) sections 25-101(C) and -125(A) (2003), similarly violates the federal and state constitutions. For the reasons that follow, we hold that Arizona's prohibition of such state-licensed unions does not violate Petitioners' rights under either constitution. Therefore, although we accept jurisdiction of this special action, we deny relief to Petitioners."

The Court of Appeals held that the Petitioners did not have a fundamental right to marry each other. The Court explained its position as follows:

"Petitioners contend that the State's purpose in prohibiting same-sex marriages is to “single out gay persons to impose a particular disability on them,” which cannot serve a legitimate state objective for the reasons explained in Romer v. Evans. In Romer, the Court addressed an equal protection challenge to Colorado's “Amendment 2” to its constitution, which prohibited all legislative, executive, or judicial action designed to protect homosexual persons from discrimination. 517 U.S. at 624, 116 S.Ct. 1620. The Court held that Amendment 2 did not bear a rational relation to a legitimate end due to its “peculiar property of imposing a broad and undifferentiated disability on a single named group,” with a breadth “so discontinuous with the reasons offered for it that the amendment seems inexplicable by anything but animus toward the class it affects.” Id. at 632, 116 S.Ct. 1620.
In contrast to Amendment 2, A.R.S. §§ 25-101(C) and -125(A) are not so exceptional and unduly broad as to render the State's reasons for their enactment “inexplicable by anything but animus” towards Arizona's homosexual residents. Arizona's prohibition of same-sex marriages furthers a proper legislative end and was not enacted simply to make same-sex couples unequal to everyone else. Cf. Romer, 517 U.S. at 635, 116 S.Ct. 1620 (concluding that “Amendment 2 classifies homosexuals not to further a proper legislative end but to make them unequal to everyone else”). Consequently, we reject Petitioners' equal protection challenge to A.R.S. §§ 25-101(C) and -125(A)."

The Court of Appeals goes on to discuss, at length, the issues of due process, equal protection and the application of Arizona's explicit privacy provision as contained in the Arizona Constitution. The Court concludes as follows:

"For the foregoing reasons, we hold that the fundamental right to marry protected by our federal and state constitutions does not encompass the right to marry a same-sex partner. Moreover, although many traditional views of homosexuality have been recast over time in our state and Nation, the choice to marry a same-sex partner has not taken sufficient root to receive constitutional protection as a fundamental right. Because Arizona's prohibition against same-sex marriage rationally furthers a legitimate state interest, we further decide that the prohibition does not deprive Petitioners of their constitutional rights to substantive due process, privacy, or equal protection of the laws. Consequently, it is for the people of Arizona, through their elected representatives or by using the initiative process, rather than this court, to decide whether to permit same-sex marriages. Having accepted jurisdiction of this special action, we deny relief."

The entire case can be reviewed at http://www.cofad1.state.az.us/opinionfiles/SA/SA030150.pdf

In essence the Court holds that the present law does not discriminate because neither Arizona law nor the U.S. Supreme Court recognize same-sex marriages as a constitutional right.

However, as the Court notes "it is for the people of Arizona, through their elected representatives or by using the initiative process, rather than this court, to decide whether to permit same-sex marriages." That is exactly what Proposition 102 is intended to do.

More later on discrimination

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Proposition 102 -- The Marriage Amendment - more comments on the Arizona Republic

As late as the early years of the Twentieth Century, In the United States, people with Jewish surnames were often denied accommodation at the hotels and even restaurants. This early form of racial profiling caused many Jewish immigrants to "Americanize" their names.

See for example http://www.aish.com/societyWork/work/The_Jewish_Ethicist_Racial_Profiling_I.asp

As recently as 1997, the City of Chandler, Arizona ended up in the Federal Court as a result of actions taken against the Hispanic community involving racial profiling.

These practices are almost universally decried in the Press, but apparently, it is not objectionable for the opponents of Proposition 102 to use "Mormon" names to single out and persecute those who favor the Marriage Amendment. In the Arizona Republic article of October 3, 2008 Arizona State Representative Sinema is quoted as stating that "her campaign has identified many of the contributors [in favor of Proposition 102] as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through ... recognition of well-known Mormon names." Apparently, if you have a well-known Mormon name, whatever that is, you cannot participate in the political process in Arizona. Representative Sinema's question, as quoted, is: "Why is one group so determined to inject itself into government?" A group she identifies by their Mormon-sounding surnames.

I find it outrageous that I could be singled out in the Arizona Republic for donating to an important social and political issue merely because I have a "Mormon-sounding" surname. Why is the Arizona Republic participating in this activity which is only a small step away from racial profiling and outright persecution of a religious minority?

I would suggest that anyone who has not investigated and read the background of the Marriage Amendment needs to do their homework. Please read:

The Divine Institution of Marriage

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

Friday, October 3, 2008

Media Coverage of Proposition 102 Continues

In the Arizona Republic print edition of the newspaper for October 3, 2008, the front page of Section B has an article entitled "Faith groups backing Prop. 102" with a subtitle of "6.9 mil raised to support marriage amendment." However, interestingly, the Web based article has the title "Gay marriage opponents raise $6.9 million," in a not-so-subtile shift in the characterization of Proposition 102. See the Web article at:

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/10/03/20081003marriagemoney1003.html

Although the article maintains that "Because donors are not required to disclose thier religious affiliation, it is impossible to quantify the donations from church groups that support or oppose the referendum," the article quotes the opposition as having identified "many of the contributors as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Why do you think the doners are not required to disclose their religious affiliation? Could it be that the Constitution protects our religious freedom? Could it be that the reason is to prevent the persucution and attacks on any one religious group? It is absolutely reprehensible that a State Legislator would feel that she could violate a religious group's constitiutional rights, with the implication, from her statements, that the LDS Church should not be allowed to participate in the political process. Why does it raise "dangerous implications about the relationship of church and state" when the members of a religious denomination donate to a cause they believe in? Why is the Arizona Republic supporting this anti-religious position?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Proposition 102 - The Marriage Amendment -- an issue of broad concern

If you believe the opposition to Proposition 102, that this is a Mormon issue, please review the following Website:

Catholic Vote

http://catholicvote.com

Media coverage heating up on Proposition 102

The East Valley Tribune ran a story with the headline:

Arizonans support ban on same-sex marriage

See http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/127053

It is interesting to that Representative Sinema announced that the opposition is winning. It is interesting to note that the article now characterizes the Marriage Amendment as a "ban on same-sex marriage." It is also interesting to note that article on mentions "Proposition 102" once in the article and otherwise the proposition is neither quoted nor further identified except with the emotionally charged title of the article. This isn't news reporting, once again, this is propaganda.

The same article appears in the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson with the headline:

Gay-nuptials ban favored in poll; foe says it'll lose

See http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/byauthor/260208

This title is even more objectionable in a supposedly news story. It is clearly an opinion and should be labeled as such. It is reprehensible that a news organization allows this kind of propaganda to pass as news.

The articles were both written by Howard Fischer of the Capital Media Services. "Capital Media Services" is a registered trade name of the reporter, Howard Fischer who has an address in Laveen, Arizona. Capital Media Services does not appear as an organized business entity and does not appear on the Arizona Corporation Commission Website other than as a trade name. So far I have been unable to find any biographical information on Mr. Fischer.