Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Deceptive Petition-gathering processes threaten gay marriage in MA
Saw this on AmericaBLOG
VoteonMarriage.org which seeks to overturn Massachusetts' historic gay marriage law has turned to Arno Petition Consultants which has been accused of fraudulent petition-gathering tactics to help get its proposed measure that would overturn the gay marriage law in 2008, Knowthyneighbor.org reports. Voteonmarriage.org reportedly supports the Benefits Fairness Act which supposedly
amend existing laws to extend the following rights and benefits to reciprocal beneficiaries:
1. Hospital visitation rights;
2. The right to designate a reciprocal beneficiary to make health care decisions in the event the other reciprocal beneficiary is unable to do so;
3. Automatic revocation of a health care proxy upon the termination of a "Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract";
4. The right of the surviving reciprocal beneficiary to authorize organ and tissue donations unless the deceased reciprocal beneficiary has specifically and previously indicated otherwise;
5. The right to make funeral arrangements for one another;
6. The right of insurers to include reciprocal beneficiaries, like relatives:
a. In a liability insurance contract;
b. As recipients of annuities under a group annuity contract;
c. In a group life insurance contract;
d. As recipients of life insurance proceeds in the event no designated beneficiary is alive;
e. Under any general or blanket accident or health insurance policy;
7. The right to have health coverage extended for a period of 39 weeks, when a policyholder of a group medical insurance becomes ineligible because of involuntary layoff or death;
8. The right to create a tenancy in common or joint tenancy with survivorship for a home;
9. Certain rights under the Homestead Protection Act which protects home ownership in the event of personal bankruptcy;
10. Inheritance rights when there is no will;
11. Next of kin status for the reciprocal beneficiary of a mental health patient;12. Right to recover damages arising out of injury to the reciprocal beneficiary.
However, me thinks that gay couples would not be included in this category and the "pro-marriage" website does not mention them. Me thinks that this is an attempt to cast a humane face on the anti-gay marriage movement, to show the people that they're not really the cold-hearted, hard-ass, mean-spirited people that they truly are. Me thinks this is an attempt to sanitize their image to run away from the stereotype of the mean, hypocritical, un-Christian fundie.
The following scenarios have been reported:
Scenario 1 - Citizens were told they were signing the wine petition when the anti-gay marriage petition was actually presented.
Scenario 2 - Citizens were first asked to sign the wine petition and then asked to sign again on a second page. The second page was actually the anti-gay marriage petition.
Scenario 3 - Citizens were told they were signing a petition to protect gay marriage when it was actually the anti-gay marriage petition.
This is supposedly the party of high morals and family values. Well I did not realize that it's apparently okay to lie about your intentions when you're supposedly doing "God's work." I did not know that it is apparently okay to lie and cheat as long as God "approves" of what you're doing.
This is a common deceptive practice I've encountered on the right when it comes to petition signing. First, they'll give you a list of petitions about 10-12 pages deep. Most of it will be like some environmental issue or progressive one. Sometimes it'll even be about preserving the Clean Air Act or something like that or save some stretch of land. They'll pressure you into signing, perhaps instinctively sensing that you're in a hurry which means they can bother you into signing just to get them to shut up. Then as you sign and sign these petitions, you'll finally get to their poison pill of a petition usually towards the bottom after you've wearily gone through 8 signatures along with including your address and email or whatever. By that time, you just want to get the fuck out of there and get to class or whatever. By that time, you're not reading the petitions if you're in a hurry, but you're signing.
My guess is that happened in the anti-gay, anti-family Massachusetts movement's zealous rush to get a measure on the ballot that would overturn the gay marriage law. The fact that they have to hide their intent shows that they are not really proud of doing God's work. They love to trumpet their faith for everyone to see, they love to be the Pharisee that prays in the streetcorner for everyone to marvel at. They love to be the Pharisee who walks with a glum face to show everyone that he's fasting. They love to talk about "loving the sinner, but hating the sin" when it is clear that their mean-streak wants to make our gay brothers and sisters second-class citizens. If they could, if they could, they would even try to take away citizenship and the rights that come along with it, but fortunately we're too far on the road to progress for that. But in this case, they are ashamed, because they have to hide their intentions. If this is supposedly God's work, should they not be proud and have it on the first page and proudly proclaim that this is a measure to "protect the sacred institution of marriage?" This applies to the Creationists in Dover who tried to hide the fact that ID was Creationism dressed up in science even though they proudly professed the fact that they were Christians. Why is it that these religious folk feel that they have to hide the fact that they're doing "God's work?"
My guess is that Scenario 2 is most likely.
This is why one must be EXTREMELY careful when it comes to petition signing because you never know whether you'll encounter a sheep in wolves' clothing. OFTEN these right-wingers will cast themselves as progressives, especially here in California to get those signatures. For example, I've found petitions calling for a measure that would INCREASE the length of a teacher's tenure and the "right to work" petitions buried under progressive or liberal-friendly petitions. My guess is that they throw away the signatures for these petitions and only keep those that they approve of. This is why people need to take the time to read. If you're absolutely in a rush, just ignore the petition-gatherer. If they constantly harass you, this is just more proof that something is amiss and that it isn't pretty.