Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Saturday, 15 November 2008

The wages of 'sin' ...

... is exposure. That pesky 'freedom of information' culture has bitten some fine pillars of the community who are bleating about being 'outed' (geddit? - lol) as having donated amounts above the disclosure thresh-hold to the 'Yes on 8' campaign in the recent elections in California (held concurrent with the Presidential election-cycle), the State Proposition which, since it was approved by a small majority of voters, has taken away the right of same-sex partners to marry there. Here's Frank Schubert, campaign manager for 'Yes on Proposition 8' moaning about the 'injustice' to his donors:

"It's really awful. No matter what you think of Proposition 8, we ought to respect people's right to participate in the political process. It strikes me as quite ironic that a group of people who demand tolerance and who claim to be for civil rights are so willing to be intolerant and trample on other people's civil rights."

Completely pathetic, Mr Schubert, and totally disingenuous! The reality is, as Fred Karger, a retired political consultant and founder of 'Californians Against Hate', who compiled lists of donors to the 'Yes on 8' campaign from publicly available sources has stated:

"My goal was to make it socially unacceptable to give huge amounts of money to take away the rights of one particular group, a minority group. I wanted to make the public aware of who these people are and how much they're giving and then they could make a decision as to whether or not they want to patronize their businesses."

People in the US, just like in the UK, are completely free to donate however much or little to whichever cause they wish to support, within the laws of the two countries. No one is suggesting any of the donors have broken any law. However, everyone (me and you and all the donors, as well as all the protesters) is ultimately responsible for whatever we do with our time on Earth. Larger donors, above the disclosure thresh-holds, are perfectly free to make their donations, but they should have thought about the potential consequences to their careers and businesses before doing so. Some of their customers (gay and no doubt many 'straight' customers too) might be disconcerted that a firm or a person they dealt with supported something so disgusting as taking rights away from one segment of the population. Why aren't these folks shouting to the roof-tops how glad they are to have supported a cause in which they believe? Or are they only happy to support bigotry and hate when they think they can remain in the shadows? Democracy and freedom of information imposes discipline as well as granting rights. Actions have consequences. Peaceful, noisy protests with as much publicity as possible are a necessary consequence.

The Mormon Church (which reportedly gave in excess of USD20mio), certain demographics (a high proportion of African-Americans for example), various dentists, accountants, veterinarians and diverse commercial firms (such as Container Supply Co., Inc. of Garden Grove, Calif., which gave USD250k) are now reaping the consequences of their vote for or financial support for this odious legislation. As Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry is quoted as saying:

"In any fight, there will be people who say things they shouldn't say, but that shouldn't divert attention from what the vast majority are saying against this, that it's a terrible injustice. Anyone who steps into a political fight aimed at taking away fundamental rights from fellow citizens opens themselves up to criticism. The First Amendment gives them the right of freedom of speech and to support political views, but people also have the right to criticize them."

- I repeat, actions have consequences!

PS/ Read also these articles:
- Gay Group's Complaint Says Mormons Hiding Prop 8 Contributions;
- Bill Marriott: Marriott International did not contribute to the campaign to pass Proposition 8;
- Complaint filed over Mormon aid to Prop. 8.

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