Saturday, November 15, 2008

Political activism? No fair!

I was disappointed that Prop 8 passed in California, and as I wrote before I don't have much sympathy for the Mormons who don't like that they're being demonstrated against. The argument that the No side should "protest" black people as well, since they voted at a 70% clip for the measure, is idiotic on its face as being black is not tantamount to membership in an organization that can be readily protested against.

But there's also something pathetic about this Pandagon post whining about how those damn Mormons played dirty by actually campaigning in support of the measure:

In the NYT article, ”Mormons Tipped Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage,” the details emerge about the win-at-all-costs strategy that seems less about pure belief and faith than political activism and bullying.

First approached by the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco a few weeks after the California Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in May, the Mormons were the last major religious group to join the campaign, and the final spice in an unusual stew that included Catholics, evangelical Christians, conservative black and Latino pastors, and myriad smaller ethnic groups with strong religious ties.

And the bottom line is that the full-frontal assault by Yes on 8 came down to the fact that the Mormons were willing to go door to door in a systematic manner-- to make the difference. See how they did it below the fold.

What follows is the bill of particulars of their organizing efforts, and by the end of the post there's a certain amount of grudging admiration for the Mormon ground game (not to be confused with the Mormon passing game as practiced on Saturdays by BYU).

But still, there's this sense in the reaction to the passage of Prop H8 that something bizarre and nefarious happened to revoke gay people's civil rights, when a much simpler explanation presents itself in that laws permitting gay marriage are still not wildly popular. They're getting much more so, but even in California it was expected to be a close vote based on the polls, with the bad guys having a slight edge, and sure enough it was 52-49.

So go ahead and give the Mormons hell, and challenging their tax-exempt status sounds like a good idea to me, but spare me the whining about how they played dirty when all they did was successfully defend relatively favorable political terrain.

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