Wednesday, December 17, 2008

California's Proposition 8: The Aftermath

Here's an e-mail I sent today (December 17, 2008) to Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez:

Dear Steve,

I am the activist formerly known as Andrew Exler who overturned Disneyland's ban on same-sex dancing in the 1980s. I legally changed my name to Crusader more than a decade ago since the media often refers to me as a "civil rights crusader."

Your recent columns regarding Prop 8 have been excellent and have greatly encouraged dialogue between both sides of this controversial issue.

Yes, lesbigays should have the right to legally marry (forget about civil unions which are insulting and are not the same as real marriage, the same between men and women). Personally, I am totally anti-marriage (gay or straight), but I support it for those who want it.

Yes, people are free to donate to the political cause or candidate of their choice, and also have the right to speak out for or against those political causes and candidates.

Yes, consumers have a right to not do business with individuals or businesses for any reason whatsoever; it's called the free enterprise system.

No, people who donate to candidates or political causes do not have a right to hide their true occupations on the donation paperwork. After spending about ten hours of volunteer research for one No on 8 organization, I discovered numerous contributors to Yes on 8 (in the $25,000 range) were not really "housewives" or "retired," but actually owned small or large businesses and in fact had a real occupation.

State law requires donors to list their true occupation/business, yet I am convinced that there is definitely a pattern of Yes on 8 donors intentionally keeping that information secret, which violates the law, is dishonest and unethical. What and who are these folks hiding from?

The bottom line is that I'm more concerned about large contributors to Yes on 8 that hide behind occupations of "housewife" or "retired" than a small $100 contribution from a self-admitted Mormon restaurant worker.

Just the same, people have a right to protest and boycott El Coyote (or any other business) if that is what they want to do. A small amount of their tips and money spent at the restaurant did end up in the Yes on 8 side, so the protesters make a valid point. I just feel energies are better spent to expose and boycott the huge corporate donors to Yes on 8, which is a hateful and discriminatory law.

In the same light, if people are upset that Apple (and other corporations and individuals) donated large amounts to No on 8, then those people don't have to do business with Apple. They can also refuse to purchase or rent movies with Brad Pitt or directed by Steven Spielberg (both who are said to have donated $100,000 each to No on 8).

Quite frankly, I'm really sick of the religious zealots who say that they love lesbigays, they aren't bigots, they aren't homophobic, etc. It is an oxymoron to love people and then take steps to violate the basic rights of sexual minorities (or anyone else).

Palm Springs, CA
(760) 799-xxxx (direct line) [redacted for blog post]