California’s Prop 8 Push: “Save Our Children!”

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I was walking down an Oakland, California street tonight when I passed a family, there were at least six of them, with big yellow signs that read: “Yes on Prop 8” and “Keep Government Out!” and “Save Our Children!” Now Proposition 8, as you likely have heard, is the latest attempt to erode equal rights, this year’s “say no to gay marriage” initiative on the upcoming state ballot.

They were yelling, all of them, even the little kiddies, “Save Our Children! Save Our Children!” It’s a curious slogan. How, exactly, is banning same-sex marriage “restoring marriage and protecting California children?” It isn’t like Measure OO, a city initiative that would boost funding for youth development, dedicating a chunk of the city’s budget to after-school and other programs for kids. In fact there’s no money at all in the initiative that would save our children, the gay or the straight ones. And it does nothing to restore anything, or protect anything, it’s not really “pro” anything.

And how, exactly, is banning people of the same sex from the benefits of marriage keeping government out? Is the government demanding women marry women or men marry men? According to one TV ad it sorta is. In the spot, a young girl comes home from school and tells her mom proudly, “I can marry a princess!” Have mercy, what parent doesn’t want their kid to marry into royalty?

One irony of Prop 8 that’s not lost on me, living in the shadow of the 13th Mormon Temple built in the US, LDS members have spent nearly $10 million to drive Prop 8. This organized effort is aimed at alienating people who live differently than the majority of society—shouldn’t the Joseph Smithers have a little compassion?

And shouldn’t that family on the corner spend their time and banner efforts on initiatives, or candidates, that really matter, that will affect their lives daily? It’s up to them of course, but to me there are far more pressing matters that actually matter to families.

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If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

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