Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

When Homophobes Get Outed

That’s right, yank those bigots out of the closet. Lift up that rock and let the sunlight bore in and wilt those hatemongers.

The Washington state legislature has passed (and the governor has signed) a law known as “Everything But Marriage.” It gives gay couples all of the rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples, but officially it isn’t marriage.

As soon as the law was passed, a “Christian” hate group reared its head, determined to overturn this Satanic law at the ballot box. Referendum 71 has until late July to get the required number of signatures to qualify for an initiative next November.

The “Everything But Marriage” law is now on hold until the late July deadline, if there aren’t enough signatures. If the petition does get enough signatures, then the law will be on hold until after the results of the November election.

And this is where the plot thickens: a gay rights group has created a website which will reveal the names of everybody who signed the petition to overturn Everything But Marriage.

Gotcha! Come on, time to come out blinking into the sunlight and show us who you are.

The website is called WhoSigned.org.

This is just too poetic. There’s a certain vindictive pleasure in seeing a small-minded bigot get yanked out of his hiding place and revealed to the world. Show your face, Redneck!

But is this right? What if the shoe was on the other foot?

I personally can’t think of any petition I’ve ever signed that I’m ashamed of and wouldn’t want anybody else to find out about. But still, this could be a slippery slope.

What say you?

cross-posted at Bring It On!

Labels: , ,


Blogger Benjamin Solah said...

It's fine. I don't think the what if it was us argument works for me at all. I'm just too one-sided to care what happens to bigots.

And yeah, I'm proud to sign petitions. The problem would be if my left-wing pro-union views were revealed to my boss.

June 3, 2009 at 3:29 AM  
Blogger Enemy of the Republic said...

Out them! Out the ones who would promote hate and discrimination. Have you seen the film Outrage?

June 3, 2009 at 4:54 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Being a vindictive asshole who's not ashamed of any petitions I've signed, I've got no problem with the sun being shined on bigot cockroaches.

June 3, 2009 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Benjamin: Yup, there's always the danger of the boss finding things out.

Enemy: I haven't seen Outrage. I'll google it.

Randal: That's it, turn on the light and watch the cockroaches scatter.

June 3, 2009 at 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

I'm %100 for gay marriage but I think that this is a really bad idea.

Part of the reason that we vote by secret ballot is to protect individuals from being leaned on socially for exercising their rights as citizens.

While a petition isn't voting, per-se, it is a basic political right and should be subject to similar protections. Provided that they do it in a peaceful and legal fashion, which they have in this case, they have a right to try and influence policy no matter how much the rest of us may disagree with them.

June 3, 2009 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Thomas: I agree, it's a low tactic to use. Apparently, it's legal, which I didn't realize. According to the "Who Signed" website, the names of people who sign a petition are public information. But people's tactics are getting more ruthless and underhanded on both sides.

June 3, 2009 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

I'm afraid I have to agree with Thomas. People should have the right to vote or even sign petitions the way they want without having to worry about exposure.

However, I do think it's funny that the leader of the referendum (Larry Stickney)is currently engaged in his third heterosexual marriage...

June 3, 2009 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

J: I didn't know that about Larry Stickney, that he was on his third marriage. But it figures. Those people are notorious for preaching one thing and practicing another.

June 3, 2009 at 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

While my first instinct is the say "FUCKEM! OUTEM! Make sure their neighbors know all about them, like they were sex offenders out on parole with the picture all over the website!!"

However, these are not predators (well, ok, some might be, but that's for law enforcement to worry about), and I can't go for the "out'em" much as I would like to.

Dammit, sometimes it sucks being a decent person - if I were a repube, I could rationalize outing them until the sun comes up.

June 3, 2009 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

I'm with J. and Thomas, I think the signers of petitions ought to have some degree of privacy.

I don't care if someone marries someone else if they love each other. I think this is probably what gets me the most about all the hatemongering, is the suggestion that being in love and wanting to spend your life with someone can only happen if the two participating people are members of the opposite sex. Whatever happened to the "pursuit of happiness"?

June 3, 2009 at 5:55 PM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Homophobes are easily spotted. They're the ones with crossed eyed fish magnets and Palin bumper stickers on their cars. While I applaud this tactic being used, I don't think it will be effective because these people are proud of the fact that their God of love taught them how to hate.

June 3, 2009 at 6:08 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Bee: That's true, it sucks being a decent person when you know your opponent will fight dirty and use every underhanded tactic available.

Snave: "Pursuit of happiness?" Harrumph!! The Bible says to be uptight and miserable and hateful :)

Lew: Ah yes, the old Sarah Palin bumpersticker with a fish magnet. And those types are everywhere.

June 3, 2009 at 7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just recently was the SF Chronicle publishing the voting record of some potential state candidates, they are all rich, former CEO's and Republicans.

Only then did it hit me (and it should have years ago) that this is public record and I always wondered what would happen if my employers accessed my voting records and/or petitions I signed (And I sign very few whatever the cause partially because there are many I never heard from and made me wonder what was happening to them and what was happening to the information).

I am glad to read that article as I been voting for over 30 years and these billionaires mentioned above rarely vote. Which tells me about the people who want to govern over me ("tells me they want to pad theirs and their friends pockets is what it tells me")If they don't consider voting important maybe it's because they have other means of influence.

I say go ahead with the outing and then I thank heaven I'm too unimportant (or not worth the effort) for somebody to look up my records.


June 3, 2009 at 8:07 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: That's funny how a lot of VIPs and politicians don't bother to vote. Bribery and cronyism are so much more effective, I guess.

It's like that old expression, "if voting did any good, they wouldn't allow it."

June 4, 2009 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger rockync said...

While signed petitions ARE public documents and if you don't want the exposure, you shouldn't sign one, the idea of outing people on the internet who have signed a petition is fraught with residual dangers.
While the website administrators may not intend it to be used as such, too often fringe nuts will use the info to begin a reign of terror and harassment using the information. This is, of course, illegal as well as immoral.
Better to just keep plugging away at the public consciousness with accurate information and sane arguments as to why a proposal should pass.
I think you will get much farther in the long run sticking to the high ground.

June 4, 2009 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Rockync: I agree, this could set the stage for a tragedy. That wacko who just killed the abortion doctor, he isn't the only sickfuck out there. The polarization and mutual hatred seem to be getting worse. I hope people will express their views by just protesting and online venting, rather than using more drastic means of expression.

June 4, 2009 at 2:16 PM  
Anonymous S.W. anderson said...

As several have mentioned, signed petitions are public records. I will add that they are public for good reasons.

Petition sponsors are trying to overturn a law passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor. We have a representative democracy going here and these are people we've elected to represent us. They are people we pay to represent us. The voting records of legislators and the governor's bill signings are matters of public record. Why, then, should second guessers and end runners be able to do their thing anonymously?

In fact, those who sign petitions should be prepared to stand behind their attempt at lawmaking, possibly suffering public disagreement and disapproval, as elected legislators do.

Maybe knowing petitions have real consequences, maybe even personal consequences for those who sign them, will get people to read them and think more carefully before signing.

Typical scene I've witnessed at a supermarket entrance more than once:

Maryjane comes out with a full wagon and two small children, one of which is in the wagon and trying to bean the other with a squash. Some guy who looks like he took time out from sleeping under a bridge next to a tavern to gather petition signatures darts toward MJ, pushes his clipboard at her and makes like an auctioneer, talking at high speed, running his words together.

MJ grabs the squash, fusses at her kids and, barely, catches "no tax increase" or "don't coddle criminals" from what the petition gatherer says or what's written on the sheet. That sounds good, so after 20 seconds of minimal concentration and consideration she signs and hurries off to her van.

Now, legislators might've worked for weeks or months on a law a petition is trying to alter or scuttle. They held hearings, heard from experts and interested parties. They voted it out of committee. They put forth amendments, argued for and against them, then voted on them. Finally, legislators voted the measure up or down. Next, the governor and her staff went over the bill before she signed it.

Yet Maryjane, busy and distracted, who might not know jack squat about the law to be altered or scuttled, signed on within a few seconds to significantly change or nullify all the legislators' judgment and work, and that of the governor.

This is reason No. 229 why democracy is messy business. It's also why I believe petitions and referendums should be few and hard to get through.

June 4, 2009 at 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But don't all signatures have to be verified before the Government can place it on the ballet? Are some of you saying that you want that verification kept confidential while anybody can get more revealing records about you legally?

Question for Rockync:

Could you take the high ground knowing your opponents are going to be on the street carrying "God Hates Fags" signs, while knowing they work?


June 4, 2009 at 11:26 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: Good points about petitions, their "end run" attempts, and the sleazy methods used by petition signature gatherers.

I actually was one of those paid signature-gatherers for a brief period in 1979. It was a phony "rent control" petition that was actually intended (and backed by real estate interests) to outlaw rent control in California. I felt bad about working for that group, but it paid my rent for that month, ironically enough.

As sleazy as that organization was, astroturf groups have gotten much slicker and much better funded since then.

I'm all in favor of the initiative process; it's just too bad it's been hijacked by corporate interests disguising themselves as a "grass roots" movement.

Erik: Interesting dilemma. In general (I know there are exceptions), liberals are "nicer" and more likely to play by the rules than conservatives. It sucks to take the high road and then get kicked in the balls (figuratively). What to do?

June 4, 2009 at 11:45 PM  
Blogger rockync said...

Erik - "knowing they work?" You mean that someone will read the sign and have an epiphany and then believe that "God hates fags?"

Once, a long time ago, the KKK came to my town to hold a rally on the town green. They carried placards and were set up to give speeches.

Many in town did not want the KKK there spewing their messages of bigotry, racism and hate. I guess we could have stood across the street with our own signs, throwing tomatoes or something.

Instead a couple of local clergy organized a prayer meeting for peace, love and understanding in a small park on the other side of town.

There was a core group whose number continued to grow through out the afternoon until we became the news of the day and the KKK rally a small footnote - so yes, I still believe in the validity of Dr King's methods and I can still take the high road.

You don't change minds by beating people over the head, you pray that God will turn their hearts and, if he can't turn their hearts, perhaps he will turn their ankles, so you will know them by their limping. :) (An old Irish blessing)

June 5, 2009 at 7:59 AM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

I'm for it. It is high time these bigots stood up to be counted.

June 5, 2009 at 10:07 AM  
Anonymous S.W. anderson said...

Tom, no offense meant in how I characterized petition signature gatherers. I'm sure they're not all seedy characters, but some I've seen, especially in the last few years, were really off putting.

About the referendum process being hijacked by corporate interests. There is that, of course. But the process also attracts gadfly jerks like Howard Jarvis in California and our Washington state referendum meister (whose name I can't remember right now, dammit).

June 5, 2009 at 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I thing carrying God Hates Fags signs are totally disgusting but I believe it is effective - unfortunately.

It would be nice if the Gay movement had someone like a Dr. King who made argued toe to toe with White Segregationist Preachers like Jerry Falwell turning the bible they always used to their advantage against them.

I find it disgusting that many of the same denominations that opposed Civil Rights (and some of the same ministers) are now opposing gay marriage it appears they never learned their lesson, or redirected their hatred.

We should also remember that King's high road, worked in the south but faltered in the North and other areas. It was a combination of Non Violence and Militancy (like the Black Muslims and The Black Panthers et al) that helped advanced his cause. People figured if you didn't with this man talking about peace, there were others talking about carrying guns.

My home town burned down the home of the first black family that moved in, they were a little nicer to the 2nd. They offered to buy them out, but my family stayed!

It taught me that you don't need a Klan to have racial problems. Just because the town wont allow a cross burning, doesn't mean they wont practice discrimination.


June 6, 2009 at 2:48 AM  
Blogger rockync said...

Erik - while we all have had life experiences that color our views, my point is this; rank opposition to the detractors with or without equal violence will avail us nothing.
You change hearts and minds over time with compassionate caring and education.
By participating in "in your face" type protesting, gays merely widen the divide rather than close it.
Gay couples need to teach by example, leading their productive lives in the light of day for all to see. And we heterosexual supporters need to be rational and vocal in our support of these couples.
We prove by example that the homophobic hysteria is both irrational and ungrounded.
It takes time, but the idea that you can force either view down peoples' throats has been proven time and again to be ineffective. It only serves to make people dig their heels in ever deeper.
I have lived in both the North and the South - King's method of nonviolence was met with violent opposition in the South as well as in the North, and there was little in the way of effectiveness in the South during those early days with lynchings and house burnings being frequent outcomes.
The militant groups such as the Black Panthers did nothing to advance the cause of civil rights and these groups were far from nonviolent.
I think the proof of what I'm saying lies in the fact that even today's school children can tell you something about Dr King, but I doubt there are very many who know the name Bobby Seale or Huey Newton.

June 7, 2009 at 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Funny how time changes our perspective of things. Back then over 60 years ago the “high road” was strictly through the petition method, the legislative method. “Have Patience!” we were told, “It will come”
Back then the Sit-ins, the demonstrations were considered an abomination with constant attacks of lawbreaking and “moving too fast!” and risking a tremendous amount of animosity from whites. Think about it, wouldn’t a sit in be “in your face”? According to National Polls, Kings popularity didn’t grow until well after his death and when we all had “good memories” about him, remember the years of stalling to get his birthday a holiday and then the shock of seeing the battle in congress to make it so of a man so popular. Remember that? A lot of hateful stuff was said!

Martin Luther King is a hero of mine, but it is well known he got too much credit from the writers of poplar history who have made him the popular answer to any civil rights quiz. Not enough credit is given to the militant groups (out west the Panthers were quite effective), hell not enough credit is given to the Jews, SNCC, Core, or the Rockefellers who funded the SCLC. (Even the NAACP feels slighted). Nor was credit given to those who fought off numerous attacks like Vernon Dahmer (or do you think we always just stood there and watched our houses get burned and the lynchings happen?)

Given the sorry history our kids are taught overall, those kids wont be able to give you more then a sentence of what Civil Rights were and Kings life. Of course you won’t learn about Huey Newton or Bobby Seale, but you won’t learn much about anybody else either.

I also know tactics have changed that would have made Kings Tactics much harder today. That era took advantage of a slower less controlled media, reporters who were happy to run down there take film, get them developed and let the country decide. Today Fox would have instant video of those “lawbreakers and thugs” with instant commentary from experts like O'Reilly and Gingrich. If the movement all started in this age, today’s Conservatives would have gotten the Hoover Tapes of King having sex with other women and “leaked them” to the Limbaugh Show and Fox. Well say you had proof that Hoover was Gay would you counter it and released them? Easy Decision? Tough Decision? If Strom Thurmond had been today Setting a record Filibuster on the Bill to give you equality would you “have patience” until it came around again or reveal his black daughter?

Back to the gays - what’s at issue is outing those who hate them not going out on the streets with violent clashes. Times have changed! Tactics must change. I believe if they fight fire with some fire, they might get to the business at hand.

Understand the Last thing a oppressed group wants to hear is “Patience” it was always a Conservative Buzzword for “I’m not giving you anything!”


June 8, 2009 at 12:33 AM  
Blogger rockync said...

Erik - I'm not beyond shaking things up a little; I participated in my share of sit ins and demonstrations, marched on Washington and stood up to racists.
Just a couple of years ago I bought cemetary plots with a friend of mine. This is a sleepy little Southern town and the cemetary is town owned. They ran a special - 4 plots for $400. We each only needed two, so we decided to buy them together.
The cemetary had been historically a "white" cemetary and my friend and her husband happen to be black. I'm sure we were the talk of the town but I guess the true measure of how far we have come is no one burned a cross in my yard or hers.
Attitudes change over time, much of the time quietly and without all the violence. I think you give too much credit to the noisy groups that came and went. King had quite a following of both blacks and whites long before his death; many of whom continued his methods of civil diobedience and nonviolence.
And you seem to forget that conservatives were in charge back then so all us protesters were called criminals, communists, etc.
There was more raw footage on TV back then than there is now. The difference today is the powers that be have learned how to reign it in and control it. Back then they barely understood that power.
I guess we see this history from two different angles and we'll just have to disagree on methodology.
I will continue to support gay rights, be vocal when I deem it necessary and go on trying to change hearts and minds gently. If you wish to hit someone over the head with a placard and scream obscenitites, etc, I wish you luck with that.
My point about the topic as originally posted is that I thought the website was inflammatory and setting the stage for possible bloodshed. And that should never be the goal of any group of Americans, no matter how hateful the opposition is.

June 8, 2009 at 11:05 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home