Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Liberty is on the ballot November 4

No, this is not about a candidate. The ACLU is a steadfast non-partisan organization. We have never endorsed any candidate or any party and we never will. This year, however, essential liberty itself is on the ballot in at least two states. They may not be official Pennsylvania issues, but we Pennsylvanians can stand up and do something.

California's Proposition 8

In California, voters will decide whether to strip gay and lesbian Californians of the right to marry. In case you missed it, the California Supreme Court ruled in May that the state's ban on same-sex marriage violated the California state constitution. Since then gay men and lesbians have had the same rights as their heterosexual neighbors, but now a ballot initiative (Proposition 8) would allow a simple majority to deny those fundamental rights.

Early polling showed that most Californians didn't like the idea of voting to take away rights from anyone, but supporters of Proposition 8 have gained ground by using the oldest of political techniques: outright lies. Last I checked, the polls showed liberty losing to lies.

This is a huge fight. Huge. California is super-influential around the rest of the country. Think of it as a REALLY big domino. The victory in May was a gigantic leap forward for equal marriage rights in the United States. If Prop 8 passes, it will be two gigantic leaps back.

If you don't live in California you can't vote against Proposition 8, but no matter where you live there is lots that you can do to help in the fight. You can phone bank voters in California, you can help raise exposure for the issue, you can even make your own commercial urging voters to vote NO on Prop 8. Most importantly, you can GIVE MONEY. This fight is being lost on dollars alone, and right now the bad guys have more. Go to to contribute, or to join the fight in other ways.

Florida's Proposition 2

Prop 2 in Florida is scarier than Prop 8 in California, but it is less likely to pass. Unlike California, which requires a simple majority, Florida requires 60% of the voting public to amend the state constitution. Prop 2 would outlaw gay marriage AND any form of civil union, and has a neat little "no takebacks, no reversies" clause that bars any judge from overturning the law once passed.

Polls say that Prop 2 is unlikely to pass - only 55% of Floridians oppose civil liberties - but we must take nothing for granted. Visit to learn more about Florida's Proposition 2.

Chris in Philly

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