Thou Shalt Not Lie: An ad campaign with iffy facts gets $1 million from the Knights of Columbus.
Posted on October 10, 2008
Filed Under Gay News Blog
From their headquarters in New Haven on August 19, The Knights of Columbus — the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization — donated $1 million to “Yes on 8,” a campaign dedicated to passing Proposition 8 in California. If successful, Proposition 8 would amend California’s constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in that state. According to a California advocacy group, “Yes on 8″ isn’t too picky about “facts” or “truth,” judging by their new ad campaign.
Connecticut is in the middle of a landmark gay marriage debate of its own. The state supreme court is deciding Kerrigan & Mock, et al. v. Connecticut Department of Public Health, in which eight gay and lesbian couples sued after being denied marriage licenses. Though arguments were made in 2007, no decision has been reached.
Meanwhile, from a highrise overlooking U.S. 34, the Knights are trying to influence California politics. They are the single most generous donor to “Yes on 8.” With the help of the Knights’ $1 million, the campaign launched its first television ad on Monday, Sept. 29.
The 30-second spot begins with a clip of San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom at a press conference on gay marriage, saying “It’s gonna happen, whether you like it or not!” The ad then trots out Richard Peterson, a Pepperdine University law professor, who ticks off a list of reasons he says Proposition 8 would harm Californians: “People being sued over personal beliefs,” “churches losing their tax exemption” and “gay marriage taught in schools.”
The information touted in the ad is iffy at best, according to “No on 8,” a campaign dedicated to challenging the proposition.
“It’s a scare tactic, that’s what it boils down to,” says Ali Bay, spokeswoman for “No on 8.” “They make a number of misleading assertions.”
For one, says Bay, “California law prohibits the teaching of marriage to any student in any particular grade.”
In the ad, as Peterson speaks, pages from two court cases and a newspaper clipping fly across the screen as punctuation. In the wake of an SF Weekly blog dissecting the ad, Bay and others have said the references are less than relevant.
“One of the cases they were alluding to was a case here in California where a lesbian was denied medical service based on her sexual orientation,” says Bay. “It has nothing to do with marriage.” The other case, “Parker v. Hurley,” involves a group of parents objecting to a “pro-homosexual curriculum” in Massachusetts. The newspaper article, warning that “anti-gay clergy should fear backlash,” turns out to be an opinion commentary from the Gay and Lesbian Times.
Patrick Korten, a spokesman for Knights of Columbus, spoke to the Advocate via phone from Rome, and said he had not seen the ad yet.
“I spent four years as the chief spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice,” he said when given information about the accusations, “And I can tell you that whether or not a particular case applies or has precedental value is often a hotly disputed question.”
He said the Knights of Columbus’ choice to donate $1 million to “Yes on 8″ was consistent with their opposition to gay marriage, which he said is not representative of homophobia. “That assertion is absurd,” he said. The Knights’ donation “stems solely from our belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
“Yes on 8″ denies the accusations of inaccuracy: “The consequences of not passing Proposition 8 are true and real,” says Sonja Eddings Brown, a spokeswoman for the organization. “Everything in the advertisement that we are running is true and real.” When asked to discuss the assertion that gay marriage will be taught in schools if the proposition were to fail, she spoke of other states, not California. And she was unable to provide a convincing description of what it actually means to “teach gay marriage.”
Korten, the Knights’ spokesman, said, “We were founded in 1882 primarily as an organization to help protect families, and that is still what we’re doing 120 years later.”
Of course, some of the gay couples involved in the Connecticut lawsuit have families, too.
This posting was automatically generated from a feed from Gay News Blog Read more….Thou Shalt Not Lie: An ad campaign with iffy facts gets $1 million from the Knights of Columbus.
We’ve matched the $1 million Knights of Columbus Anti-gay donation – now we need to match their multi-million dollar television ad buy
Knights of Columbus tip the balance with big anti-gay marriage donation
EQCA Responds To $1M Donation From Catholic Group
Spending on gay marriage initiative likely to top $30 million – have you contributed yet?