Again, we express our love and thanks to our Catholic brothers and sisters for their key role in this joint effort.
By Paula Doyle
“The ‘No’ side is in full panic now,” said Carol Hogan, director of pastoral programs and communications for the California Catholic Conference. She noted that campaign contributions in support of Proposition 8 totaled approximately $27 million as of Sept. 30, surpassing opponents’ fundraising by $8 million.
A poll conducted on behalf of four California television stations Oct. 4 and 5 found that 47 percent of respondents expected to vote yes on Proposition 8, while 42 percent said they would vote no. The five-point lead was up from a SurveyUSA poll published Sept. 25, which found 44 percent planned to vote yes, while 49 percent said they would vote no.
“There’s been a lot of buzz from the recent ads for Proposition 8,” said Hogan. Before the Yes on 8 campaign started airing its commercial showing San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom declaring about same-sex marriage, “It’s gonna happen, whether you like it or not,” polls indicated the measure was trailing by double digits.
Supporters also credit grassroots efforts that have included door-to-door campaigning and phone outreach by a coalition of people from diverse groups and denominations. “We’ve seen a huge number of volunteers in the last couple of weeks,” said Bill May, state chair of Catholics for Protect Marriage.
He said the recent surge in support “reflects the fact that people are becoming aware of the consequences” of the California Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision to legalize same-sex marriage. A likely consequence, says May, will be parents’ inability to “opt-out” their public school children from learning about same-sex marriage in the classroom.
The Yes on 8 campaign’s latest ad focuses on a recent Massachusetts court case ruling which said parents of public school children had no right to object to the education of their children on same-sex marriage. “That’s a big concern to parents,” May said.
“California’s ruling made sexual orientation a protected class,” Hogan explained. “Same-sex marriage proponents say there will be no impact in schools, but protected class status granted sexual orientation may change the way marriage is taught to schoolchildren.”
“Churches and other institutions which do not conform to the civil definition of marriage, now defined constitutionally as a right, could experience severe legal repercussions,” said Stockton Bishop Stephen Blaire, in an op-ed article published in The Modesto Bee Oct. 9.
“Clergy who refuse to perform same-sex marriages might lose their state authorization to witness marriages. Contractual agreements between religious social service agencies and the state for services in the community, especially for the poor, could be put in jeopardy.”
The bishop pointed out the place of children in a marriage now is relegated to a secondary position with the ruling’s emphasis placed on the contractual relationship between two individuals. “Current studies show that the optimum reality for children is their natural mother and father in a low-conflict relationship… For the well being of society and for the good of the family, Proposition 8 should be supported. A ‘yes’ vote protects the nature and dignity of marriage,” said Bishop Blaire.
Editor’s note: For more information on grassroots efforts to pass Proposition 8, log on to www.CatholicsforProtectMarriage.com.