The Peach

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Saturday, May 21, 2005

First They Came for the Gays

A group of Californians who oppose equality for gay people is petitioning to place a state constitutional amendment in front of voters that would not only limit marriage rights to "one man and one woman," but would strip gay families of existing marriage-like rights.

The scope of the amendment language is significant. According to PlanetOut News, "[T]he proposed amendment would take away many marriage-like privileges currently extended to same-sex couples registered as domestic partners. In addition, state and local governments would no longer be allowed to extend health benefits to domestic partners of gay or lesbian workers."

The group needs 600,000 signatures to get their amendment on the ballot.

The amendment's Web site, VoteYesMarriage.com, does not provide any clues about the group's leaders or financial backers. We hope the SCLM will make it their business to find out. An extreme group is looking to roll back the rights of one minority, under the sanitized language of "protecting" heterosexual marriage and suggesting that it is more "natural," "sacred," etc. This is way too close for The Peach's taste to white supremacist groups who talk about protecting the rights of "European Americans." If they are allowed to proceed unchallenged, a grave injustice will be done -- one that the Peach believes every correct-thinking American needs to stand up and oppose.

VoteYesMarriage provides contact information on its Web site. We urge our readers to take them up on the offer and let them know exactly what you think about their efforts to devalue gay families. E-mailing them through their site is probably easiest, but you can write or call too:

California Marriage Amendment
P.O. Box 511
Sacramento, Calif. 95812
Phone: 916-265-5643
Fax: 916-848-3456

The Peach also encourages readers to contact the mainstream media to encourage them to take a hard look at this group and who is funding them. The time to aggressively take control of the positioning on this effort is now, when the petition is at the earliest stages of signature gathering and the group has not yet filed campaign finance information with the California Secretary of State.

Friday, May 20, 2005

I See London, I See France . . .

A man reads the British tabloid newspaper The Sun in London May 20, 2005. The paper carries a front page picture showing imprisoned former Iraqi  leader Saddam Hussein in his underpants and has other pictures inside of various aspects of his life in prison. (Dylan Martinez/Reuters)

What the hell are the American military personnel in Iraq thinking? First, Abu Ghraib. Then, desecration of the Koran. Now, in their latest act of complete stupidity, they hand over pictures of Saddam in his underwear.

England's favorite tabloid, The Sun, quoted American military sources as saying they handed over the pictures "in the hope of dealing a body blow to the resistance in Iraq."

Haven't these Joe-Bobs and Bob-ettes learned anything? Saddam's defense team is already calling this another Abu Ghraib and will most likely create another surge of protest and violence throughout Iraq.

It's incidents like this that make The Peach just want to tear its fuzzy hair out. Contrary to what those who supplied the photos may think, The Peach feels if you keep handing the insurgents ammunition, you are eventually going to get shot.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Jesus Is My Tagline

A few months back, we were appalled by the transparent gay-baiting tactics being employed by conservative groups to promote various right-wing agenda items. There was USANext’s effort to turn the elderly against the AARP with a campaign, the gist of which could be summed up as: “AARP hates the troops and loves gay marriage.” The spiritual and aesthetic forbear of that campaign was a nearly identical conservative effort during the presidential election when the RNC distributed leaflets in areas of Kentucky and West Virginia, containing cheesy graphics suggesting that Democrats intended to simultaneously legalize same sex marriage and ban the bible.

That was all bad enough, but nothing could have prepared The Peach for the latest evolution of this tactic, which is now being trotted out in the service – not of conservative economic policies or even political party differentiation, but of filthy lucre. That’s right, the old “green checkmark over the photo of the gay couple” approach has made its way into an almost unbelievably crass consumer marketing campaign for Oklahoma-based United American Technologies, which bills itself as a “Christian-based” phone service.

By the evidence of a couple of apparently authentic telemarketer calls (listen here) recorded by comedian Eugene Mirman, U.A.T. telemarketers have been calling consumers around the country pretending to take a survey on gay marriage on behalf of something called the “Faith, Family & Freedom Campaign.” If the consumer presses the number one when prompted, indicating opposition to gay marriage, an operator comes on the line and attempts to persuade the person to switch his phone service to U.A.T. The reasoning? Simple. AT&T, MCI, Verizon and other mainstream carriers all support a gay agenda!

Mirman, in his seemingly genuine outrage against the abomination of marriage equality, manages to draw some truly amazing statements from the U.A.T. telemarketers, including the idea that manstream carriers indoctrinate their employees into "the gay lifestyle" and produce child pornography.

At one point, a bewildered sounding Mirman asks incredulously, “AT&T sponsors child pornography?” “No, no,” the salesperson hastily corrects him. “That’s MCI.”

The rest of that exchange continues like this:

Mirman: MCI has hardcore child pornography?

UAT: Yes, they are. They have a pedophile Web site for men who love boys. It's a Montréal based Web site....

Mirman: And so MCI basically has a child pornography ring?

UAT: That's correct.

Mr. Mirman: What about the others? What does Verizon do?

UAT: Okay. Verizon, what they do is they train their employees to accept the gay and lesbian lifestyle.

At this point, Mirman practically shrieks, “You mean they’re turning their employees GAY?!?”

In the end, Mirman and his newfound wingnut chum cozily agree that together, they will destroy “the gays.”

The Peach does not know what to make of this except to assume that it must work, or U.A.T. wouldn’t be doing it. According to U.A.T., the company has succeeded in getting 2000 subscribers a month to switch to their service, so playing on people’s hatred of gays appears to be lucrative. It also develops that Faith, Family & Freedom is an actual 527 organization, started by the Republican floor leader of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Through its partnership with U.A.T., the 527 gets a percentage of sales for each customer they succeed in switching over the Christian carrier (hmmm, The Peach wonders, does it enable you to call God?).

We are just waiting for someone to blame it all on Working Assets – after all, they started it with their donations of a portion of sales to progressive causes. And how do they prospect? By finding out whether potential customers like certain causes such as the environment or women's reproductive choice. U.A.T. could plausibly argue that they are merely taking the next logical step, qualifying you as a prospect based on whom you hate.