Yes on 8 Press Conference Video

On Friday the Yes on 8 campaign held a press conference in Santa Ana at the Double Tree Hotel to decry what they term hate crimes against supporters of Proposition 8. Organizers cited acts of vandalism, harassment, and economic boycotts by No on 8 sympathizers directed towards Yes on 8 supporters as evidence of “hypocritical intolerance.”

First, on the matter of violence, vandalism, and alleged acts of domestic terrorism, it is important to respond with a very clear and simple statement. Under no circumstance is an act of violance, terrorist threat, or vandalism appropriate on either side of this issue. Such actions are carried out by thugs, who have no regard for rules of a civil society. I have not met any leader on either side, who condones such acts. To suggest otherwise is simply to lie.

Here is our edited video from todays press conference. It runs about 30 minutes (3 parts).


Parts 2 and 3 on the flip.

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The following words are from Michael Berelian a spokesperson for the No on 8 campaign who was able to get into the room where the press conference was held.

Sitting through todays press conference promoted by the Mormon Church and the Protect Marriage Coalition felt like a bad dream. The homophobic tone in this meeting was clearly evident from the moment the conference started. I will highlight some of the points made during the conference below along with a personal statement.

I want to highlight something upfront. The supporters of gay marriage should not stoop to the low levels of violence, hate mongering, and harassment. That is an extreme side that does not represent my community. At the same time, we have every right to boycott corporations and businesses that have contributed to the YES on 8 campaign. We should not boycott a company if an employee or associate donated a personal donation. I ask the supporters on the gay marriage ban what they would do if their favorite store or restaurant supported a ballot that removed rights from them?

The primary reason for the press conference today was to discuss how the Mormon Church and contributors to the Yes on 8 campaign have all of a sudden been “victimized”. Again, I do not support hate crimes or any illegal protests. The fact that they would claim victim here shows the brainwashed mentality that they look to spread. They removed rights from a group of people. They are further supporting prejudice and inequality that has plagued my community for years. They themselves do not live the moral lives they claim by doing this. They are the evil doers here. That much is clear.

There was a pastor that chose to represent the entire black community by saying “The black community has spoken and we DO NOT SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE”. I was embarrassed for the man speaking. He went on to say the gay community has NO RIGHT to compare their civil rights movement to the black civil rights movement. My question to the “pastor” is why not? Why is your struggle more worthy than the struggle of the gay community? What gives you that right and how dare you attempt to take it away from me. I will quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “A right delayed is a right denied.” “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

The most offensive part of the press conference came when someone compared the gay community to Nazis. “The supporters of marriage protection have been victimized”. I find that astronomically offensive because what the Yes on 8 Campaign has done is EXACTLY the same as what the Nazis did to the Jewish community and other minorities in Nazi Germany. Rights were removed one at a time. Propaganda was passed along (just as the yes on 8 camp has done) to scare people to participate in the hate and evil. As a Jewish man I am further infuriated that a member of the Church would have the audacity to compare the gay community to Nazis. I was literally disgusted. Please note that Sonja Eddings Brown from Yes on 8 later told me that she does not agree with that statement. I hope she has publicly denounced the person that made the hateful statements. If not, it is clear that she supports his statement.

A speaker also mentioned that the Church is “defending a moral society”. What happened to separation of Church and state? That statement is clearly a loaded statement that implies a gay marriage is immoral. While I clearly disagree, I believe people have the right to think that and that is why all Churches reserve the right to not marry a couple for any reason. It could be because they do not support interracial marriage, marriage between people of different faiths, or gay marriage. They can keep that right. We are asking for CIVIL marriage and the rights that follow.

The speakers also asked for government support. Blaming various government officials that did not support proposition 8. I was confused by this as the government officials that did not support the ban are doing just what they are supposed to. PROTECT THE PEOPLE. Protecting people is not taking their rights away. Simple as that.

Lastly, I was asked to leave by a security guard that worked for the Double Tree Hotel because “members of the gay community are not welcomed”. I have witnesses to this.

In closing, I would like to say it should not be in the hands of the citizens to vote to remove rights from a group of people. The gay community is simply asking for equality under the law. We will continue to fight for the rights that were wrongly removed. We will not be silenced by lies and hate. We will not stand by as various religious organizations spread hate through fear mongering and lies.

So what are your thoughts after viewing this press conference and reading Michael’s comments?

  5 comments for “Yes on 8 Press Conference Video

  1. cat
    November 15, 2008 at 9:30 am

    God is not real and you are evil

  2. kassie
    November 16, 2008 at 1:11 am

    I’m curious, that they seem to think that every community is on their side, against the gay community. Since the split was 52/48, do they actually think that 48% of the voters in this election were gay? Since I know Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim straight friends and family members who all voted NO, I wonder if they realize that maybe the issue is much more than just same-sex marriage.

    Coretta Scott King, civil right leader, widow of Martin Luther King Jr.:

    “We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny… I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be,” she said, quoting from her husband. “I’ve always felt that homophobic attitudes and policies were unjust and unworthy of a free society and must be opposed by all Americans who believe in democracy.” (25th anniversary luncheon for Lambda Defense and Education Fund, quoted in the Chicago Sun Times, April 1, 1998)

    “A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing, and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages.” (Speech at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, USA Today, March 24, 2004)

  3. Tara
    November 16, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Thank you for this article. I’m sorry that you were discriminated against after this press conference was over. I know several there that were as well. My friends and I were outside having a peaceful protest when WE witnessed several of the members of the Tongan Mormon Church Community harassing and intimidating members of the No on 8 protesters. They were doing EXACTLY what their “leaders” inside where claiming against our group!! If they had just walked outside and witness what we have throughout this ENTIRE campaign, they would understand who the true victims were. Their rights weren’t taken away! And my last comment is regarding the African-American man that stood up and spoke, I agree, he should be ashamed and embarrased. He implied that African-Americans voted because their chances of living in 2 parent families, as opposed to single-parent families, will somehow be lessened if they allow gay marriage. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! Just because Prop 8 passed, we will not go back into our closets and play house like good little straight kids!! We are gay, we have families and Prop 8 WILL NOT CHANGE THAT!!

  4. Elijah
    November 17, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    As a religious Jew I am outraged by those in the Christian community who seek to include us (the Jewish people) in this horribly ignorant campaign. Although I have not yet finished watching the entire press conference I find the opening statement to be a bit surprising. In their opening statement the first gentlemen speaker (in the first video) spoke of the NO ON 8 demonstrations outside Jewish synagogues. However I have yet to read or hear of such a protest! The Jewish religion (Modern Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, even the Hasidic ‘Ultra Orthodox’ have commented on this) has never sought to distance any member of the Jewish community just because they are gay. Jews realize that all members of our community should be treated with (human) respect and dignity. Unlike the Christian community, Jews understand that judgment and condemnation are traits reserved for G-d and for any man (or person) to believe that they have the right to condemn another for their actions whatever they may be makes them a blasphemer. Although I do not always agree with them our Jewish brothers and sisters in the Reform and Conservative communities have given homosexuals the right (if they wish) to marry within the synagogue. In my opinion this decision is entirely about family! I would much rather have a gay or lesbian couple married in a synagogue than a church. Marriage in a synagogue provides for a prideful connection to the Jewish religion and will most likely guarantee that their children will be brought up as Jewish, as opposed to Christian (adding more light to the world).
    Those of us in the American Jewish community have just about had it with the Christian right (in this case I am talking about the mega churches, i.e. Calvary Chapel, Saddleback Church, Trinity Broadcasting Network, etc.). These Christian organizations claim that their values are based on traditional “Judeo-Christian” principles. However Jewish law is nothing like Christian doctrine. And as much as they would like to think that being Christian is the same as being Jewish (only that Christians are complete-Jews) the average Christian has no idea what so ever what it is like to be Jewish and to live a Jewish life. Not to mention that they attribute (in the mentioning of “Judeo”) most of their Christian principles to the Jewish people, however seek to establish the fact that we are barred from heaven unless we accept Christ as our savior (sorry, I have G-d for that!). And finally, no, it is not about what makes society “traditional.” Because if it were… a Jewish marriage would be valid in all Christian churches, and my child’s Bar Mitzvah could be held in the local Calvary Chapel, and I (without accepting Christ) would be allowed into heaven under the Christian doctrine. The Christian right needs to understand that the notion of “tradition” is not the same in every culture not religion. Some cultures and religions (most definitely not the Christian right) understand that tradition is established as a community grows (just look at the Torah ‘Old Testimant’). Therefore we should have never allowed the Christian right to place what they believe to be “traditional” in the form of their moral template upon our secular society. Who is next… the Jews, the Muslims (they have already started with this one), the Hindu, or maybe the children of single mothers?

  5. Derek
    November 24, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    As a gay male, I wish we had more articulate defenders of civili liberties than the inarticulate Mr. Berelian (can he explain the difference between being literally disgusted and plain old disgusted). Also, let me take the first swing and answer the “question” he poses. The black civil rights struggle is so very different and to equate what is happening now in our community misrepresents history. First and formeost, African Americans were discriminated against b/c of a trait. We are b/c of a behavior. See the difference? The State of California has no constitutional requiremnt to accept and SANCTION WITH LEGAL RECOGNITION ANY behavior NOT EXPLICITLY PROVIDED FOR. Marriage has been and is inexorably linked to religion, like it or not. And in the long run, we are doing a disservice by tearing down the walls between church and state. I am a gay male who understand history and the constitution. I also value the separation of church and state and suggest Mr. Berelian understand the California constitution and notions of Federalism. As a liberal, I see intellectual dishoensty and no coherence in the arguments presented.

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