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).[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lalzpuZInHQ[/youtube]
Parts 2 and 3 on the flip.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87pmldM-Irc[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIBe9bj2zQs[/youtube]
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?