California state Republican Senator Pete Knight is currently the state senator from California’s 17th district. This chap’s main contribution to the state’s rather partisan debate? We’ll ignore the majority of his sad history and concentrate on the fact that he is the author of that truly insane and divisive act being put before the state’s voters known as Prop. 22 or, as it was once called, the “Definition of Marriage Act”.
Now, what, exactly, is Knight trying to define here? Marriage is legal in California, isn’t it? Marriage has come from its beginnings as strictly a religious rite and has been adopted into our legal and tax codes and societal mores, right?!? So what’s to define?
The answer is in the action taken by the state’s Attorney General when he ruled that the title be changed from the distorted “Definition of Marriage Act” (but known as the “Defense of Marriage Act” in the propaganda passed out by religious extremists or “Protection of Marriage Initiative” on their rather foul and misleading web site (which has disappeared from the web) to the far more accurate “Limits on Marriage Act”. The limits that Knight and his ilk wish to place on marriage is to limit all legal and state acknowledged marriages to only those between a man and a woman. This spiteful act, if passed, would then betray the two purposes that Knight wants hidden in the title. First, it would bar any legal acknowledgment or bestowing of government benefits through any ceremony of marriage between two men or two women, known as “same-sex marriages”, in the state of California. It would also refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in any other state in the U.S. or in foreign countries.
What does the Limit on Marriage Act, itself, consist of? It is truly short and to the point (a first, I believe, for any conservative legislation). The Act, in its entirety, declares, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” (We won’t address the issue of how this law would handle the marriage of Ru Paul to anyone of any sex or species.)
We’ll also overlook the obvious contradiction in the conservative movement’s messages when they, first, demand that Americans stop being sexually promiscuous and to settle down into families and to behave themselves morally while, at the same time, conservatives demand that gay and lesbian Americans be denied that same option of family and "moral" behavior, by extension granting them permission to act “immorally”. That little conundrum will have to worked out in the money changing rooms and dark nooks and crannies where conservatives are most apt to be found.
What we will examine is the outrageous fact that Knight and his sort would further alienate a rather large part of the American population for no reason other than their rather poor understanding of the Bible, a book that has no place in government whatsoever. First, the fellow they choose to regard as a God, Jesus, made it very, very plain that his followers were to love everyone and he allowed for no exceptions. Christ demanded that his followers never judge another nor harm another. In other words, Jesus offered a philosophy of love and inclusion and Knight and his breed want to sow hatred and alienation and abuse.
One would naturally assume that such a horrid piece of legislation could only have come from the many fundamentalist groups gathering the money and legal expertise needed to write this proposition and to gather the necessary signatures in order to qualify it for inclusion on the state’s ballot. One would be very, very wrong, in that case.
One truly fanatical and homophobic man is nearly one hundred percent responsible for this garbage making it onto the ballot. In fact, he paid for about 44% of the cost of gathering the needed signatures and placing Prop. 22 on the ballot.
This sick little puppy is Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson, Jr. As heir to the financial empire created by his father, which profited from the Depression to become the $38 billion Home Savings of America, Ahmanson has employed his wealth to effect the election of fundamentalist Christian candidates as well as to support, if not outright bankroll, pro-Christian legislation and anti-gay bills (Prop.22), anti-Affirmative Action (Prop. 209), anti-union (Prop. 226), anti-diversity (Prop. 227 - English Only) and anti-First Amendment (see Prop. 226) and on and on. His overall purpose, according to his statements in an interview published in 1993, “...is total integration of biblical law into our lives.” (Of course, what he and his type means is their interpretation of biblical law and not anyone else’s.)
Ahmanson’s partners in hate in supporting Prop. 22 are Robert Hurtt Jr., whose family owns Container Supply Co., Edward G. Atsinger III who is part owner of 18 Christian radio stations, and Roland and Lila Hinz who own Daisy/Hi-Torque Publications.
In the true manner of the conservative movement, these folks give very little money to their pet causes personally. Instead, they try to hide behind PACs such as the Allied Business PAC (a PAC which derives 100% of its funds from the people mentioned above) and other PACs and foundations. This maneuver has the side benefit of making it appear that the candidates and hate legislation that they personally fund is not their agenda but, rather, is supported by many other interests. Since California has some of the loosest and most easily ignored campaign financing and reporting laws in the nation, people like these get away with bending the national and state debates away from decency and fairness and towards the fanatical and punitive agendas that are the hallmark of the fundamentalist political movement in America.
As I have shown over and over in earlier articles, what appears to be reality seldom is. As with term limits hiding the fact that we must enact and enforce strong campaign financing laws and with anti-Affirmative Action hiding the racial hatred underlying the movement, Prop. 22 and its supporters are not the true agenda.
Ahmanson is a founder and serves on the board of the Chalcedon Foundation. Chalcedon is a religious “think tank” (at least according to a Newsweek article) that is presided over by its President R. J. Rushdoony. This “gentleman” is considered the father of Christian “Reconstructionism”, the idea that believers should actively remake America’s declining, secular humanistic society through adherence to biblical law. ( 1, 2, 3 )
Now, what exactly does this foundation support? Well, in the words of its founder and President, it believes that democracy is a heresy, “One faith, one law, and one standard of justice did not mean democracy. The heresy of democracy has since then worked havoc in church and state, and it has worked towards reducing society to anarchy.”
It also believes that the death penalty is applicable to homosexuals, practitioners of bestiality (including the poor animal), sorcerers (bye-bye employees of Psychic Hotline), idolaters, the sexually unchaste, blasphemers, heretics, apostate Christians, people who curse, people who strike their parents, females guilty of “unchastity before marriage”, “incorrigible juvenile delinquents”, adulterers (see ya Clinton and Gingrich, et.al.), and liars (see “adulters” and just about every other politician out there).
As for the idea of equal rights for women, “In the name of equal rights, women are being stripped of the protections of the family and given no place to go except the perverse competition of a sexual market in which increasingly shock, perversion, deviation, and aggressiveness command a premium. The women who gain by equal rights are those who are hostile to Christian law.”
In regards to those uppity African-Americans who demand to be treated as human beings, the foundation’s President proclaims, “The “civil rights” revolutionary groups are a case in point. Their goal is not equality but power. The background of Negro culture is African and magic, and the purposes of magic are control and power over God, man, nature, and society. Voodoo, or magic was the religion and life of American Negroes. Voodoo songs underlie jazz, and old voodoo, with its power goal, has been merely replaced with revolutionary voodoo, a modernized power drive.”
Okay, gentle readers, what exactly have we learned here? Well, the deeper we dig, the more we see that, once again, what appears on the surface to be one thing is, in reality, another and far more evil thing entirely. That reality is that a racist, sexist, fanatical religious foundation that espouses the demand that homosexuals (among so many, many others) be executed for their “crimes” has, as one of its founding fathers and current board member, a very wealthy man who believes that the separation of church and state must be abolished and the nation governed according to his narrow and mean spirited interpretation of biblical scripture. This fellow, quietly acknowledging that attempting to force his religion on the rest of us overtly would be doomed to failure, instead uses his wealth to get his fellow travelers in the Rabid Religious Right’s herd of politicians elected to office and then quietly pays to have religious-based laws enacted through the state system of back door legislation known as propositions and/or ballot initiatives. Finding another fanatic already in office, this wealthy fellow gets his serf in government to “write” and support a law that, on its face, seems fairly innocuous (it’s only fourteen words in total, for crying out loud!), but in reality is meant to punish the homosexuals through societal castigation just because the foundation can’t legally execute them. In the end, we have a law to be voted on in California, simply called Proposition 22, Limits on Marriage Act, that the “liberal media” has seldom reported on and even more seldom reported on fully.
Want to be let in on a pretty cool part about this entire nonsense? The reality for these fanatics is that, now that they have brought the subject up, they will probably lose no matter which way California’s voters choose.
If the law is defeated, then all remains the same. Those laws already passed by various cities and localities and businesses that recognize “partner” relationships and extend all benefits to those involved will continue to do so. As time passes, more and more entities will recognize the need to treat everyone equally who is obeying the law and they, too, will extend benefits to “partners”. Proposition 22 will simply be seen as an unnecessary bump on the long road to fairness and justice.
If Prop.22 is passed, however, it will immediately be contested in federal court where it will be shown to be unconstitutional in that, by refusing to recognize the legal acts and laws of other states, it is in defiance of Article IV of the Constitution and the XIV Amendment in the Bill of Rights ( 5, 6, 7 ), among others. This will have the overall effect of forcing California to not only recognize those same-sex marriages performed in other states but will force the state to allow and license same-sex marriages performed within California. In that the ruling will be in a federal court, it will eventually force every state in the union to recognize same-sex marriages performed anywhere and at anytime.
I guess it all just goes to show that one shouldn’t wish for something too hard because he may just receive exactly what he deserves, instead.
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