Pants on Fire

As discussed below, the LDS Church has objected in the strongest terms to the charge that they intended to invalidate any existing marriages or otherwise harm GLBT people, and has continued to demand that someone “apologize” for the ad that depicts a home invasion and destruction of a California couple’s marriage license. Anti-gay activist Jennifer Roback Morse, acting as an official spokesperson for the Prop 8 campaign, actually started a facebook group to complain about the “Home Invasion” ad. Here, from that site, is a typical verbal assault:

The official position of the Yes on 8 campaign is that we will not challenge the existing marriages. As far as I know, no one else is planning to challenge them either. Every single thing about that ad was false. Members of the LDS church exercised their rights, along with everyone else in CA, to participate in the political process. The people who created that ad should be ashamed of themselves. I am not aware of a single person from the No on 8 side who has condemned those ads.

On November 5, Prop 8 campaign manager Frank Schubert told the San Francisco Chronicle that his organization had no plans to challenge any of the 18,000 marriages that took place after the court ruling in May. Difficult to believe, but that’s what they said.

Then, on December 20, we learn this from the Sacramento Bee:

The sponsors of Proposition 8 asked the California Supreme Court on Friday to nullify the marriages of the estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who exchanged vows before voters approved the ballot initiative that outlawed gay unions.

The Yes on 8 campaign filed a brief arguing that because the new law holds that only marriages between a man and a woman are recognized or valid in California, the state can no longer recognize the existing same-sex unions. The document reveals for the first time that opponents of same-sex marriage will fight in court to undo those unions that already exist.

“Proposition 8’s brevity is matched by its clarity. There are no conditional clauses, exceptions, exemptions or exclusions,” reads the brief co-written by Kenneth Starr.

It seems then, that every single thing about that ad is true. But wait, it gets better. Apparently, the Prop 8 folks are now arguing that they didn’t really lie, because they didn’t challenge any individual marriages in court. They aren’t trying to “nullify” the marriages, they say, only demanding that they “not be recognized” as marriages. Like Eugene Delgaudio’s criminally irresponsible accusation of arson and attempted murder by “homosexuals,” this was a meta-lie, worded to convey a glaring untruth while trying to avoid the consequences of lying. In both cases, the distinction being drawn is completely meaningless. What they are doing here is actually much worse than simple lying, and we thank Mr. Delgaudio’s little “helper” for pointing it out in comments.

Now, no one with an understanding of anti-gay activism really believed that the Prop 8 folks didn’t plan to try to forcibly divorce these 18,000 couples. This flip-flop is not a surprise. But here’s another official statement from Roback Morse, clearly on damage control patrol:

Hi Everyone:
Just to clarify one point: most legal scholars believe that clergy would not be compelled to perform same sex weddings against their religious beliefs. (Although there is now discussion in Sweden of compelling them to do so.) If you look carefully at the Yes on 8 campaign material, we did not say otherwise. When we talked about people losing their tax exemption, or otherwise being legally harassed, we did not specify why. We were worried about all the areas in which churches interact with the public, particularly the public outside their own congregations. [Emphasis added]

Got that? Anybody who ridicules their claims that clergy would be forced to perform same sex weddings (in other words, claims that are demonstrably untrue and ridiculous) is misrepresenting the poor, oppressed Prop 8 campaign.

Too bad, then, that Prop 8 spokesman Jim Garlow said just the opposite:

One Sunday about a year ago, Garlow told his congregation what he thought the consequences of legalizing same-sex marriage would be.

Pastors around the state would be required to marry gays, he said. [Emphasis added]

We have posted about Roback Morse’s work before. In an earlier article opposing marriage equality, she addressed the often expressed criticism that the real threat to marriage is from heterosexuals who don’t take it seriously, and issued a rather sarcastic challenge to the GLBT community to support her model state-level pro-marriage legislation. Being pro-marriage ourselves, we called her to discuss ways in which we could work together on legislation to strengthen marriage in Virginia – whereupon she admitted that there actually wasn’t any legislation to discuss. It was a fairly pleasant conversation, and we took her at her word that she was sincere about finding common ground and wasn’t just lashing out with sarcasm. I hate to say it, but that good faith may have been misplaced.

The take-away, if you happen to be an immoral anti-gay activist bent on getting your way no matter what it takes, seems to be this: When you’re caught in a big, stinking lie, lie harder. The facts speak for themselves. We are compelled to award “Dr. J” Roback Morse the “Pants on Fire” award – twice in one day.

Congrats, Dr. J.

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3 Responses to Pants on Fire

  1. Jonathan says:

    David Benkof of “Gays Defend ‘Marriage'” did not support the Yes on 8 campaign because he thought that the campaign was antisemitic and homophobic. Wow! We’d like to hear more about that. Benkof also believes that Prop 8 should be retroactive.

    http://www.gaysdefendmarriage.com/2008/12/25/prop-8-must-be-retroactive/

    His site blogrolls Dr. J’s Ruth Institute site and Dr. J. posts his work on her blog here and here for example.

    The Roback-Morse and Benkof appear to be engaged in a marriage of convenience.

  2. David Benkof says:

    You can read more about why I stopped supporting the Prop. 8 campaign (but not man-woman marriage) here:

    http://ledger-dispatch.1871dev.com/opinion/opinionview.asp?c=249931

    I like Dr. J and consider her a friend, but we have friendly disagreements on a variety of topics, including aspects of the retroactivity matter.

  3. David says:

    Thanks for posting your essay, David. Beyond disagreeing with the goal, I agree that the Prop 8 campaign crossed numerous lines of decency and that they should be ashamed of themselves. Do you think, though, that they could have won with only the mature, thoughtful argumentation that you advocate? They obviously didn’t think so, and I suppose we’ll never know. I also agree that we can and should have this thoughtful conversation. I don’t dismiss your arguments, although I think you’re wrong. I will spend some more time with your blog when I get the chance – still in holiday mode here – and look forward to the conversation.

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