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California: Yes on Obama, No on Equal Rights

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California is deep, dark blue. Barack Obama will win our state by double digits because we live in a relatively progressive state.

But, for the first time in American or California history, men and women will lose their civil rights.

Sounds like a sick joke, right? Well, I stopped laughing a while ago. If the Sarah Palin "no on abortions, even in cases of rape and incest" movement gets its way with Proposition 4 -- an initiative on the November ballot -- California's constitution will force minors to receive the permission of their parents prior to getting an abortion. That might sound normal and reasonable to a lot of people. But it's actually insidious and outrageous when you take a closer look.

Imagine a dysfunctional family in which a young woman is abused by her father. Imagine then that she becomes pregnant. If this law passes, she would be legally unable to abort the pregnancy unless her father or mother gives her permission. Now what do you suppose they would say? She would dare not ask. What about a teenage girl who is raped or makes a mistake with a boy? If this passes, the constitution demands that she get her parents' permission to abort the pregnancy, regardless of what a medical professional says.

Don't think Prop 4 will pass in California? Think again. The most recent Field Poll shows Prop 4 leading by a margin of 8 points with a month to go.

Last Saturday, the Courage Campaign paid to fly a banner on an airplane over the stadium where Sarah Palin spoke in Carson, California. The crowd of 10,000 or more was rapturous in its support for Palin. Fortunately, their votes for her ticket will not matter here in California, but their votes for Prop. 4 could well kill young women.

But there's more. The law of the land in California provides for equal protection for all citizens. Sounds pretty basic, an American precept, right?

Well, the right wing, backed by the same folks who hoot and holler for Ms. Palin, have placed Prop 8 on the ballot, which would make same sex couples second class citizens by eliminating their right to marry. And it's now favored to pass, with two recent polls showing it leading by 4-5 points. While we all justifiably and necessarily focus on federal races from the presidency on down, apartheid be the new law.

That's why the Courage Campaign, together with our comedic friends at Public Service Administration, led by Andy Cobb, produced the video "Gender Auditors" to demonstrate the twisted nature of this proposed constitutional amendment.

While John McCain and Sarah Palin and George W. Bush talk about less government, they are creating the most expensive government in history. They talk about the rights of the individual, while trampling those, whether by illegal electronic surveillance, denial of habeas corpus, mandating government control over women's bodies or deciding which loving couples may have state sanction of their union. In short the right wing has truly gone mad. There is neither rhyme nor reason to their actions. They invoke God to tell the state what it may or may not do, even though Prop. 8 has no affect whatsoever on the sanctification of marriage within their churches. They decide that; the government stays out.

Californians have poured tens of millions of dollars into the presidential and other federal races. That's as it should be. We export political capital to help where needed. But California suffers for lack of attention to itself. If these initiatives pass, the nation will be set back for years and a clear message will be delivered: even while an Obama Administration works to restore order and calm to the nation and the world, down below the radar, state by state, hate-filled law by hate-filled law, the right-wing gets its way. If they win this one, we will have set them up to organize for congressional and senatorial races in 2010, using the same divisive issues to gain traction. And we set them up to take their venomous show on the road, state by state.

Californians and patriots across the country must now help assure that progress comes to this state as we usher in a new era in Washington. We need to end government run by religion and end modern apartheid. It's time to clear the way for a clean slate for President Obama and a strong Democratic congress by defeating their ballot box bigotry.

Go to CourageCampaign.org/NoOnProp8 and just say No.