Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Response to NOM's Attack Email


TO: Brian Brown, National Organization for Marriage
Maggie Gallagher, National Organization for Marriage

FROM: Fred Karger, Californians Against Hate

RE: Your Attack Email of August 29, 2008

DATE: September 2, 2008

As always, I get a kick out of your emails attacking me (copy below) and our efforts to fight for the long-held California tradition of fairness and equality. All we are doing is fighting for the same rights that you have in New Jersey, the right to marry the person we love. Maggie, you have literally written the book, “Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially”, and your title makes the best argument for marriage for all people, not just some. It seems like a loving, practical and secure marriage is something that you would want for same-sex couples as well, and it might be good for book sales.

Anyway, back to your attack on our small protest at your $100 per person fund-raiser held at Charles LiMandri’s estate in Rancho Santa Fe a few weeks ago. I am surprised that you accused Californians Against Hate and the 2 dozen protesters in front of the gates to Mr. LiMandri’s subdivision of not being “voices of tolerance and mutual respect in society.” That seems very strange. When you pulled up wth Chuck LiMandri a little before 3:00 pm, it was Mr. LiMandri who demanded that we leave the area because it was private property.
We had previously contacted the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and let them know of our plans; therefore, we stayed right where we were. It is called freedom of speech, guaranteed by the First Amendment. It’s a pretty amazing Amendment that I think you would really like:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This Amendment to the United States Constitution added rights for all Americans, unlike what you and your people are trying to do now with the hateful Proposition 8; to take away our rights and write discrimination into California’s Constitution for the very first time.

I don’t recall Mr. LiMandri or you complaining when angry demonstrators were all over the state seven weeks ago on June 17th from San Francisco to San Diego, the day that same-sex couples were allowed to marry for the very first time. Hundreds of couples went to city halls and county buildings all over California, and on this very special day were greeted by angry demonstrators shouting at all these happy couples and their families. This doesn’t sound like “voices of tolerance and mutual respect in society” to me.

Please find the Republican Fact Sheet (below) that was handed out to most all of your guests in case you haven’t seen it yet. The quotes of 6 great Republican leaders past and present who led the way on civil rights and the rights for gays and lesbians are cited. I think that you will find it very interesting. These leaders include President Ronald Reagan, President Gerald Ford, Senator Barry Goldwater, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders; all of whom stood up against bigotry. Rancho Santa Fe’s own revered former Congressman Clair Burgener who in 1980 ran against the Grand Dragon of the Klu Klux Klan, Tom Metzger said this, “I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and I think, My God, could this happen? But then, in the cool light of day, I think it won't, that I'm going to win. My God, I don't represent a bunch of bigots, do I?” Clair Burgener received an unprecedented 86% of the vote against his democrat challenger Tom Metzger.

Here’s the Fact Sheet in its entirety:

What Real Republican Leaders Past and Present Said On Civil Rights & Campaigns Against Gays and Lesbians

· President Ronald Reagan (September 1978): At the end of a meeting with gay and lesbian leaders in his Los Angeles office, Ronald Reagan smiled and said, “Don’t think we can allow something like that to happen here in California.” He was denouncing the Briggs Initiative, Proposition 6, which he opposed and would have permitted the firing of gay teachers in California. Reagan, who by then had served two terms as governor, was gearing up to run for President. His opposition is credited with the defeat of the measure by more than 1,000,000 votes.

· Senator Barry Goldwater: The founder of the conservative wing of the Republican Party and nominee for President in 1964 was very outspoken on civil rights. He stated, “To see the party that fought communism and big government now fighting the gays, well, that’s just plain dumb.”

· President Gerald Ford (October 21, 2001): President Ford said the federal government should provide the same benefits for same-sex couples and married couples. Ford told Detroit News columnist Deb Price in a telephone interview that the provisions should include Social Security, tax and other federal benefits. "I think they (same-sex couples) should be treated equally. Period," he said. “…I have a longstanding record in favor of legislation to do away with discrimination.”

· Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger:
When being interviewed by Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon about the Protect Marriage Constitutional Amendment that had not yet qualified for the November ballot (April 11, 2008): "Well, first of all, I think that it would never happen in California (the passage of Proposition 8), because I think that California people are much further along with that issue. And, number two, I will always be there to fight against that."

NBC’s Meet the Press in an interview by Tom Brokaw when asked about same-sex marriage (June 29, 2008): “I think the Supreme Court made a decision there. It was apparently unconstitutional to stop anyone from getting married. It’s like 1948, the interracial marriage, when the Supreme Court of California decided it was unconstitutional and then later on the Supreme Court of the United States followed. So I think it is good that California is leading in this way. There are so many other more important issues that we have to address in California. So I think to spend any time on this initiative is a waste of time.”

· San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders Press Conference (September 20, 2007): “I decided to lead with my heart, which is probably obvious at the moment,” he said. “The concept of a separate-but-equal institution…I am unwilling to send the message to anyone that “they were less important, less worthy or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage. In the end, I couldn't look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships, their very lives, were any less meaningful than the marriage I share with my wife, Rana,” said the Republican Mayor of San Diego.

· Congressman Clair Burgener (October 1980): Beloved former San Diego City Councilman, Assemblyman, State Senator and 5 term member of the House of Representatives who ran against Democrat Tom Metzger for Congress in 1980. During that campaign, he fretted at the implications of Metzger's candidacy. “I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and I think, My God, could this happen? But then, in the cool light of day, I think it won't, that I'm going to win. My God, I don't represent a bunch of bigots, do I?” Republican Burgener told the Los Angeles Times in 1980 when running for reelection to his 43rd Congressional District seat representing San Diego’s Rancho Santa Fe and surrounding cities. Clair Burgener received an unprecedented 86% of the vote against his democrat challenger Tom Metzger, the Grand Dragon of the California Klu Klux Klan.

Copy of Brian Brown’s Email:

NOM Marriage News: California Edition August 29, 2008 Dear Friend of Marriage, If you are reading this you are already one of our band of merry warriors for marriage, and I don't have to tell you about the forces arrayed against marriage, civility, and common sense.You know the kinds of pressures powerful forces in the media, the judiciary, and the old "cultural elite" are putting out on this issue. Gay marriage advocates like to pretend they are the voices of tolerance and mutual respect in society."Pretend" is the operative word here. A few days ago NOM California's own Chuck Limandri and his wife Barbara hosted a fabulous fundraiser in their lovely home. San Diego's famous radio talk show host Roger Hedgecock came along, with congressional candidates Duncan D. Hunter and Michael Crimmins and San Diego City Council candidate Phil Thalheimer, and Protect Marriage's Ron Prentice.It was a fabulous night! Hundreds of our Californians, along with yours truly, came to show their support and respect for Prop 8, to take a stand for marriage as a sacred bond, as the loving expression of our society's highest ideal for families--a mother and father joined publicly in a commitment to care for each other and their children--and for the rights of all Californians to determine the future of marriage.
Guess who also showed up? Fred Karger's Californians Against Hate. As the Wall Street Journal this week made clear, this is part of an organized campaign to intimidate and silence marriage supporters.
In Florida, the anti-marriage campaign is in full swing, launching a series of deeply deceptive television ads. (You can support marriage in Florida by donating at Yes2marriage.org.) Apparently, they have to lie--to pretend that keeping judges' hands off our marriage laws is intrusive government involvement in a private matter.But be not afraid! Even the California media cannot fail to notice the truly extraordinary, historic, and unprecedented coalition for marriage now being summoned--across religious lines and racial lines. Truth never goes out of fashion. Love will triumph even over the attempts to stigmatize it as hate.Thanks again for all you do to help us speak truth to power.
God bless you,
Brian S. BrownExecutive DirectorNational Organization for Marriage
20 Nassau Street, Suite 242Princeton, NJ 08542
This Week's Articles: Anti-Gay Marriage Fundraiser in Rancho Santa Fe Attracts Protesters San Diego 6August 20, 2008
Protesters gathered outside a Rancho Santa Fe home Saturday afternoon where the Republican Party of San Diego sponsored a fundraiser for supporters of a constitutional amendment to end gay marriage in California.About 25 protesters held up signs at people driving into the event at the South Pointe Farms development, said protest organizer Fred Karger from the group Californians Against Hate.The event was held at the home of Charles and Barbara LiMandri. Charles LiMandri is an attorney who is active in Catholic and GOP circles, and a leader in the battle to save the Mount Soledad Cross. LiMandri is also the general counsel for the National Organization for Marriage California.Among the speakers were Salvatore Cordileone, auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego; Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage; and Ron Prentice, the chairman of ProtectMarriage.com.Protesters tried to give attendees a fact sheet with quotes on civil rights from such Republicans as Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, said protest organizer Fred Karger.About half the attendees took the fact sheet and everyone was polite, he said."I gave one to (KOGO radio talk show host) Roger Hedgecock personally, who is the emcee," Karger said. "He kind of smiled."Recently the state Supreme Court ruled an earlier ballot measure that outlawed same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, prompting the effort to change the constitution to make it illegal again. The fundraiser also and featured congressional candidates Duncan D. Hunter and Michael Crimmins and San Diego City Council candidate Phil Thalheimer."This is truly the fringe element of the Republican Party," said Californians Against Hate Founder Fred Karger. "These people are out of step with the Republican Party.""We hope to inform those attending about the rich history and philosophies of so many Republican leaders who fought for equality and against discrimination and hate," said Karger. An invitation to the "Yes on Prop. 8" fundraiser asked participants to "join us in the battle to save marriage." Congressional candidate Hunter stated his opposition to gay marriage when the California Supreme Court made it legal. "The Court brazenly disregarded the will of the people and sent California down a road that will destroy traditional family values," said Hunter in May. "I am committed to working to make sure this decision is overturned and that these liberal judges understand the gravity of what they have done.
"The Californians Against Hate group has also mounted a boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego and two other hotels owned by Proposition 8 financial backer Doug Manchester.
Gay Activists Target BusinessesTamara Audi
Wall Street JournalAugust 27, 2008
When William Bolthouse, a California philanthropist, donated $100,000 in March to support a proposition to ban gay marriage in California, calls and emails poured in -- not to Mr. Bolthouse, but to the corporate offices of a company that bears his name -- even though he sold it three years earlier."It wasn't us, it's not our fault," says Jeffrey Dunn, now the chief executive of Bolthouse Farms, whose juice bottles are sold at upscale markets such as Whole Foods.Bolthouse Farms is the latest target in what has become an increasingly bitter political fight in California. As gay-rights activists attempt to defeat the upcoming ballot initiative, called Proposition 8, they are going after not just individuals, but also companies to which they are connected, however tenuously."Mr. Bolthouse has said, 'I'm not connected to Bolthouse Farms at all.' But we don't accept that," says Fred Karger, who runs Californians Against Hate, a new gay-rights group that is leading the charge to identify and publicize corporate connections to significant donors. He notes that Mr. Bolthouse's son-in-law is chairman of the company and that Bolthouse Farms markets itself as a fourth-generation company.
Next week, Californians Against Hate is planning to push its tactic further by publishing a "Dishonor Roll," a list of individual and corporate donors who give $5,000 or more to groups campaigning on behalf of Proposition 8. The list will include the donor's name, employer and the corporate logo of that employer -- even if the company itself didn't donate to the Proposition 8 fight.Mr. Karger said the tactic isn't intended to keep individuals or companies from donating, but is meant to educate the public so consumers can make informed choices. He said including corporate logos of businesses whose employees donate is fair game, since that information is publicly available on government Web sites that track donors. "Our larger message is to other business people," Mr. Karger says. "It's a free country, you can give as much money to this campaign, but we are going to publicize that and people can make a decision on whether or not they want to support those businesses."
Some Proposition 8 supporters see the effort as crossing a line. "To tell a business owner that they can't express their beliefs on an issue is a really stupid thing," said Terry Caster, the owner of A-1 Storage, a self-storage company based in San Diego. Californians Against Hate says Mr. Caster and his family gave about $300,000 to support Proposition 8, prompting the group to make him the focus of a call-in campaign. Mr. Caster said he received a few phone calls a day that petered out after several weeks, and his business wasn't affected.
Mr. Dunn said Bolthouse Farms's bottom line wasn't affected by the publicity and that his company has made an effort to correct wrong information on blogs that said Mr. Bolthouse still owned a large portion of the company.
Same-sex marriage was legalized in California in June after the State Supreme Court ruled a ban was unconstitutional. That set the stage for a ballot proposal to outlaw gay marriage. Both sides see California as the crucial battleground state that could determine how far same-sex marriage rights can be extended. Fund raising has poured in from across the country.
From January to the end of June, the largest campaign to ban gay marriage had raised $2.6 million, according to the California secretary of state's Web site.The largest campaign to protect gay marriage raised $2.5 million during that period. Both sides said they had raised considerably more since then.Some large corporations have waded into the fray. San Francisco-based Pacific Gas & Electric, the state's largest utility by revenue, donated $250,000 to defeat Proposition 8. A spokeswoman said the company received some complaints from its 20,000 employees and six million customers, and it was able to handle the protests internally.
Other companies haven't had it so easy. San Diego's Manchester Grand Hyatt is now the target of a boycott that was kicked off after its owner, Doug Manchester, donated $125,000 to the campaign to support Proposition 8. With the help of a local union, gay-rights activists managed to convince two professional associations to cut back on some events they planned to host at the hotel. A hotel official said both groups are keeping the rooms they have blocked off for their events but moved some meetings and other events to other venues.In an email responding to a reporter's question, Mr. Manchester said, "We have received support from those that are in favor of Prop 8 which has made up for some of what is being lost as a result of the boycott. Nonetheless, we are saddened by all the divisive nature of the movement."A spokeswoman for Hyatt Corp. in Chicago said it doesn't require its hotel owners to follow any particular policy. "We absolutely don't have a position on the proposition itself but we have a really strong, long track record of inclusiveness in terms of the way we welcome our guests and the way we treat our employees. Doug Manchester...in no way speaks for Hyatt," said the spokeswoman.
That distinction may be harder to make as gay-rights groups offer fuller public profiles of private donors. Jennifer Kerns, a spokeswoman for ProtectMarriage.com, the largest fund-raiser for the Yes on Prop 8 campaign, says she expects it will become more difficult to entice corporations to contribute to her cause."The moment [Mr. Manchester] wrote the check, he found himself to be the target of numerous boycotts and protests," she said. "Our side has a significant challenge in that." Ms. Kerns noted that the greater chunk of her group's funding will likely come from individuals and religious groups, such as the national Catholic organization Knights of Columbus, which recently contributed $1 million to the campaign.California
Churches Plan a Big Push Against Same-Sex MarriageJessica GarrisonLos Angeles TimesAugust 24, 2008Early on a late September morning, if all goes according to plan, 1 million Mormons, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, evangelical Christians, Sikhs and Hindus will open their doors, march down their front walks and plant "Yes on Proposition 8" signs in their yards to show they support repealing same-sex marriage in California.It is a bold idea, one that may be difficult to pull off. But whether or not 1 million lawn signs are planted in unison, the plan underscores what some observers say is one of the most ambitious interfaith political organizing efforts ever attempted in the state. Moreover, political analysts say, the alliances across religious boundaries could herald new ways of building coalitions around political issues in California ."Pan-religious, faith-based political action strategies . . . I think we are going to see a lot more of [this] in the future," said Gaston Espinosa, a professor of religious studies at Claremont McKenna College .The greatest involvement in the campaign has come from Mormons, Catholics and evangelical Christians, who say they are working together much more closely than they did eight years ago when a similar measure, Proposition 22, was on the ballot.Mark Jansson, a Mormon who is a member of the Protect Marriage Coalition, said members of his group are also reaching out to Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus.Organizers say the groups turned to each other because of the California Supreme Court's ruling in May allowing same-sex marriages to be performed in the state. Thousands of gay couples have wed in the state since June 17, the first day same-sex marriages became legal."This is a rising up over a 5,000-year-old institution that is being hammered right now," said Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Church, an evangelical congregation in La Mesa. Garlow said that, while he supported Proposition 22, he was not nearly as involved as this time around, when he has helped organize 3,400-person conference calls across denominations to coordinate campaign support for the proposed constitutional amendment."What binds us together is one common obsession: . . . marriage," Garlow said.He added that many people of faith, regardless of their religion, believe that "if Proposition 8 fails, there is an inevitable loss of religious freedom."Other religious leaders vehemently disagree with Garlow and are working just as furiously to defeat Proposition 8. But their efforts have not been as carefully orchestrated as those of the initiative's religious supporters.Susan Russell, a priest at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, a liberal congregation that has long supported the rights of gays and lesbians to marry, said "fair-minded Californians" should be concerned about some of the tactics and arguments of faith leaders on the other side."I will defend to my last breath the right of any of those folks to exercise their religion as they believe they are called to do it," she added. "But I'll resist to my last breath, vote, e-mail and blog their right to inflict their religious beliefs on the Constitution of the state of California."Russell said that the idea that the court's decision infringed on religious liberty was a "red herring." Divorce is legal in California, she said, but that doesn't mean that Roman Catholic priests have to perform marriages for people who have been divorced.As the campaign intensifies this fall, both sides in the fight over Proposition 8 say they expect religious leaders and their congregations to continue to play a big role.To demonstrate that there is significant clergy support for same-sex marriage, the group California Faith for Equality has produced a video of priests, reverends and rabbis talking about why they support gay marriage.In one, as Pachelbel's Canon plays in the background, the Rev. Neil Thomas, a minister at Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angeles, looks at the camera and declares: "I absolutely think that Jesus would support the freedom to marry, and because of that, as a follower of Jesus, it is absolutely incumbent upon me to support the freedom to marry as well."Adds Rabbi Zach Shapiro of Temple Akiba in Culver City : "My faith supports the freedom to marry because, as a Jew, I have a responsibility to fight for what is right . . . and to help bring goodness into the world."There are plans in the works to make another video that includes Muslim leaders as well as Spanish-speaking religious leaders.Kerry Chaplin, interfaith organizing director of California Faith for Equality, also said her group plans to work with churches to encourage parishioners to talk to their friends and neighbors about why they should oppose Proposition 8.On the other side, Garlow said pastors are planning a 40-day fast leading up to the election. He is also planning several rallies, including one that he hopes will include 300,000 youths.Catholics and Mormons, meanwhile, are organizing their own congregations to try to sway voters, make contributions and get out the vote.The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic group, recently donated $1 million to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign.Ned Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the Catholic Church, said it was too early to say whether the coalitions being built around Proposition 8 would carry over into other issues.But, he added: "It's an interesting time to get to know each other in different ways."
An Opportunity for Prop 8 Backers: Latino Voters Against Gay MarriageMike SwiftMercury NewsAugust 23, 2008As he strolled with his girlfriend in downtown San Jose, David Palacios looked like the type of voter who will oppose the November ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage in California -- young urbanite, well-educated, a resident of a Bay Area metropolis. Except that Palacios is Latino. "I'm for civil unions -- not gay marriage," said Palacios, 20, who grew up on the East Side of San Jose and says he is likely to vote in favor of Proposition 8. In a way, Palacios feels marriage is above civil rights. Across California, a majority of whites appear poised to vote against Proposition 8 in November, according to a Field Poll in July. But that same poll found that Latinos, with their social conservatism and strong Catholicism, are in favor of a constitutional ban against same-sex marriage. As a rapidly growing political bloc that could represent nearly one in five voters in November, Latinos represent a major opportunity for the campaign working to pass Proposition 8. The Field Poll found the same-sex marriage measure was leading among Latinos 49 percent to 38 percent. 'Core value' "This issue is as important or more important to the Latino community than the presidential race," said Frank Schubert, campaign manager for the Yes on 8, Preserve Marriage campaign, which plans to advertise in Spanish, and work through Latino churches this fall. "It's a real core value for Latinos, there's no question about that." Whether the Yes on 8 campaign will be able to capitalize is another question, one that political observers say will be tied to the presidential election and to the skill and financial muscle behind the campaign's outreach to Latinos. They predict an uphill struggle. "For those who vote, which is a subset of the Latino community, you're likely to find support for the proposition opposing gay marriage, but those sorts of moral issues do not motivate Latinos to participate," said Louis DeSipio, a political scientist at the University of California-Irvine and expert on Latino politics. More likely to pull Latinos to the polls are economic or immigration issues, he said. Another obstacle is that California is unlikely to be a key battleground state in the presidential election, meaning the McCain and Obama camps are less likely to spend money here to get Latinos and other groups to the polls. "I just don't know if the number of Latino voters will be enough to put it (the gay marriage ban) over the top," said Karthick Ramakrishnan, a professor at the University of California-Riverside who studies immigrant politics. The failure of immigration reform may cause conservative Latinos to question "the extent to which the Republican Party cares about their issues, beyond just abortion and gay marriage," Ramakrishnan said. Another wild card, he said, is the degree to which the Catholic Church gets involved in the campaign this fall. The July Field Poll also found that a majority of African-Americans and Asians expect to vote against Proposition 8. But Schubert disputes those findings. He said the poll underestimates the support for the ban among all groups. African-Americans, he insists, are even stronger supporters of Proposition 8 than Latinos. The Yes on 8 campaign isn't planning to tailor its message to particular groups. "It's the same core message: that traditional marriage is the cornerstone of our society," he said. "The California Supreme Court chose to look at it strictly as a legal contract between Party A and Party B. That is not just myopic, it's potentially devastating to families and society." Religion and culture In San Jose, Palacios, who is studying business and economics at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, said ties between religion and culture are big reasons why many Latinos oppose same-sex marriage. He believes Latinos, particularly more recent immigrants, feel strongly enough that they might show up at the polls Nov. 4 specifically to vote for Proposition 8. "I think it's because everyone is so culturally Catholic who is Latino," he said. "I think that's one thing that kind of permeates every Latino society." Maria Mendoza, a nurse assistant from Gilroy, struggled to explain her discomfort with same-sex marriage, but agreed that religion is one piece of it. "That's a hard one," she said of same-sex marriage. "I think it's the way we were raised -- it's so Catholic -- and there are set rules -- the way things are supposed to be. "I don't have a problem with it," she said of same-sex marriage. "But I wouldn't say I agree with it, just because of how I was raised." While it's still early in the campaign, many Latinos seem to be struggling with their decision, like Mendoza. The July 18 Field Poll found 13 percent of Latinos were undecided, while just 5 percent of whites and African-Americans or Asians had not made up their minds. That suggests advertising and other campaigning could have more impact among Latinos, said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll. "They are more in play," he said.

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