11/17/2008

One reason to keep political donations private: "Protesters Target Supporters of Gay Marriage Ban"

The Washington Post has this story:

Protesters Target Supporters of Gay Marriage Ban
By Ashley Surdin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 15, 2008; Page A12
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 14 -- The backlash against those who supported a ban on same-sex marriage continues to roil California and nearby states.

Protests and vandalism of churches, boycotts of businesses and possibly related mailings of envelopes filled with white powder have followed the passage of Proposition 8, the ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriages.

In Sacramento, a high-profile theater director resigned from his job of 25 years after a boycott threat over his $1,000 donation in support of the measure. In Los Angeles, a Mexican restaurant owner, a Mormon who donated $100, was reduced to tears and left town after hundreds of protesters confronted her at work, by phone and on the Internet.

"You express your beliefs and you have to be punished for it?" said Arnoldo Archila, an employee at the El Coyote restaurant. "This is not right, not in this country. This is not Iraq."

The brunt of the backlash has been aimed at the Mormon Church, which called on members to support the ban. According to Frank Schubert, the campaign manager for the initiative, those church members provided $15 million to $20 million of the estimated $40 million raised to support the effort. . . .

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2 Comments:

Blogger scooteraz said...

It is a hard pill to swallow, but any private business that decides it does not agree with an employee's choices as it is in opposition of their own values, has a right to make decisions in its own self-interest of the values they do hold.

If a church wanted to fire a woman for having an abortion which is in direct opposition to their values, they would have every right to do so.


I would support the church in making a choice in their own self-interest as I would the theater.

Neither of these are easy, but government won't get out of the business of marriage.

Every time government involves itself with a special interest group, it inherently creates discrimination of either the minority or the majority.

What happened to government having little involvement in our lives and what involvement it does have, speaks to EVERY AMERICAN not just some.

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11/17/2008 5:05 PM  
Blogger Tony in SLO said...

While the acts of vandals are surely deplorable, a relatively small number of incidents of violence are a separate issue from the public interest in knowing what major forces are attempting to drive the only legitimate initiator of force - the government.

Ironically, or perhaps because of, information overload, voters go to the polls not knowing enough to make informed decisions about candidates and ballot questions. And the media is either overwhelmed or biased.

That's where circumstantial information such as endorsements and campaign contributions provide valuable information for voters on who is behind a ballot measure or a candidate. This is also true of disclosure requirements and regulations of lobbying activities.

And it is much like the sunshine laws and FOIA, where the public is intended to have as much light as possible about the functions of their government.

In this case, the LDS church poured its fortune and encouraged its flock to do the same to promote the initiative that bans gay marriage. It used the most effective force in the free market - money - to move the market (in this case voters, access to ballots, etc.).

With rare exception money moves the markets in politics just as it does in the real world.

The difference is that unlike the real world, the resulting transactions are not voluntary exchanges, rather acts of submission to authority or authority using the fruits of one's labor to promote programs and causes that one might oppose. That's fine, and is the consequence of democracy. But the result should at least be achieved out in the open.

The fact that the Mormon church spent millions on Prop 8 spoke volumes about the motivation behind the measure and the intentions of its backers to use government to enforce the policies of the religion. Therefore, if one opposes gay marriage and favors using the government to promote tenets of scripture (as many of my friends do), then this is in essence a price signal to vote yes on 8. On the other hand, if one favors the right of gays to marry or opposes the use of government to enforce religious polities, then it is a signal to vote no.

The same could be said about other, more mundane perhaps, but equally important because of their impact on the economy, issues such as land use laws, state legislative candidates, people running in nonpartisan races, etc. Seeing who supports whom gives me an idea on whether I should vote for them (or not).

Finally, as an editor at my local paper for nearly seven years, we've never heard of an instance (And believe me, we get calls!) where violence was taken to this level over a political decision or where anyone faced retribution for political donations.

These unfortunate incidents are relatively few in the far greater number of other instances where the valuable information has not caused harm and has helped further the public interest by making it easier to learn who is trying to move the government.

11/25/2008 12:29 AM  

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