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What a difference a (Prop. 8) ad makes

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Never, ever underestimate the power of advertising. If they can sell you on his-and-hers personal lubricants, they can even sell you on changing state law to forbid same-sex couples to marry. The latest CBS 5 poll (conducted by SurveyUSA for a San Francisco TV station) finds that support for Proposition 8, the initiative that would embed a ban on gay marriage into the California constitution, leads by five percentage points. Eleven days ago--before a blast of ads for the proposition--it trailed by five points.

Now, the change was among young voters, who can be hard to gauge on polls. Initiatives can be particularly hard to poll accurately. They tend to do worse on Election Day than over a telephone survey. On the other hand, people tend to be uncomfortable about saying they don't like homosexuality.

But the lesson to take home on this one is that Proposition 8, which the Times editorial board is dead set against, is no sure bet one way or the other. Second lesson: Incredibly, some people--especially young people, apparently--actually believe and are swayed by campaign ads. I've been reading about the Proposition 8 ads--the claims (false) that California schools would have to teach gay marriage to children, that it paves the way (false) for people to be sued over their personal beliefs and that churches would lose their tax status (false) if they refused to change their policies to conform with same sex marriage.

I have to read about the ads because they tend to be so irritatingly misleading (not to mention scream-out-loud repetitive) that watching or listening to them is out of the question. Campaign season is no time to be without a "mute" button.


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It disturbs me that so many people want to put a purely religious issue--a discriminatory one, at that--into law. When religious authorities, like the Church, control lives through the state, you have a theocracy, just like in Iran. Proposition 8 is something I'd expect approved in Iran, not America. People need to understand that A VOTE FOR 8 IS A VOTE TO BE LIKE IRAN. They need to think: Do they want to be like Iran and Iranian terrorists? Do they want to be like them?


Traditional marriage has nothing to do with Iran or being a terrorist. It is about a definition that has been in place for centuries. Please look to our presidential and vice-presidential candidates. None of the four support gay marriage. Studies have shown that a child is best raised by a mother and a father. Even though this ideal is not as common as it used to be, let's continue the battle for the ideal. The ideal family is worth fighting for. Just because people are obese doesn't mean we all throw our hands in the air and give up the fight.


Mike, I agree with your comment. We should be looking toward the ideal. Though I would normally agree that political ads are generally misleading, I think that the "Yes on Prop 8" ads are resonating with people because of that ideal. This is not just a religious issue, but a societal one. Keeping traditional marriage intact is vital to protecting the family-- protecting the ideal of having a father and a mother rear their children together. Trying to redefine such a functional and deeply-rooted institution, which has been at the core of humanity since its beginning, is asking to experiment on the foundation of society. The effects of such experimentation could quite possibly be disastrous.


Excellent news. An ad that points out the obvious consequences of legalizing gay marriage, is turning people in favor of Prop 8.

OBVIOUSLY, putting gay marriage in state law means that kids will be taught gay marriage in state schools.

Karin Klein says this is "FALSE," but she doesn't offer any reasoning on evidence. Not very persuasive, Karin! Why don't you just be honest and say - candidly - that you'd have no problem with schools teaching gay marriage. You wouldn't, would you?

But because most voters would have a problem with it, there's a growing hope that Prop. 8 will pass. The wonders of truth-telling commercials!

Karin Klein

Actually, you would find the full explanation of why this claim about the schools is false by following the link there. It will take you here: http://opinion.latimes.com/opinionla/2008/08/what-same-sex-m.html
a previous blogpost that explains the issue. Aside from which, schools cannot teach students about family matters without a parent's permission.


Your statement regarding parent's permission obviously would be the ideal result of this legislation, but unfortunately that will not be the case. As we've already clearly seen in the state of Massachusetts, schools curriculum becomes even more broad in its teachings of social relationships, and ultimately includes the teaching of homosexuality to young children

Karin Klein

Sam, that certainly sounds like the sort of thing that theoretically COULD happen, but I doubt very much it would. Truth is, schools are too busy trying to get kids ready for standardized tests to deal much with this sort of thing. I kind of "tested" my own three kids on this--one in grad school, one a high school senior, one a 6th grader--and none has been taught anything in public school about marriage. That age spread covers a lot of public schooling.
That said, parents will always have the right not to have their children taught matters of a personal nature, such as family, sex and so forth, if they choose not to. And school leaders are very concerned about not writing curriculum standards that go over the line on this; that's why the Education Code is so restricted on what's taught about marriage at all.


It's a matter of fairness and equality. Gays should be allow the same rights as straights. Love and companionship is universal. It's already been talked about time and time again that it's impossible for churches to lose tax-free status if they oppose marrying gays. And they teach about marriage in schools at all, so I don't know why they would begin teaching about same sex marriages.


Thank you Karin for directing me to the explanation from your previous blog post.

Sorry to say that it reads to me like articulate hair-splitting. Whether the teaching of gay marriage will be technically "mandated" isn't really the question; simple common sense tells me that when state law contorts the definition of "marriage" to include same-sex unions, this will end up being taught in health and family-life classes in state schools. In fact, it would be remiss of teachers, when talking about parents and kids and home life, to leave it out!

Apparently parents would be "free" to draw attention to themselves and their kids by removing their kids from the classroom during these lessons. I suspect a lot of voters might not see this fact as a slam-dunk debating point for the Prop8 foes.

Bottom line: I think it's going to be hard to defuse the power of the Prop 8 ad.

Karin Klein

To Edward and Sam, I really do think it's pushing the outside boundaries to say that schools are going to "teach gay marriage." When you look at what schools teach about marriage under the Education Code, this just isn't realistic. When they bother teaching about marriage at all. They teach the financial and legal responsibilities of marriage--things like community property, the legal difference between dating and marriage.

But I think it might be more helpful to view this issue in terms of the 1948 California Supreme Court ruling that recognized the right of interracial couples to marry. The parallels are striking. Californians complained about activist judges who ignored the will of the people. They said that interracial marriage was immoral, that it was againsy God's will. In fact, a judge in another state made a ruling against interracial marriage on exactly those religious grounds, in great detail. How did this affect schools? It affected the right of people who had been the victims of prejudice to live in an equal state of marriage to others. This was nearly 20 years before the U.S. Supreme Court made the same ruling.

I would expect that schools that do teach about marriage would mention that gay marriage is legal in the state of California. If they don't, they would surely be asked about it by students, who probably know anyway. Beyond that, it's up to parents to put whatever values construct they want on that. By the way, it's my experience that some kids don't attend sex ed, and theyre not victimized over it or made to feel different. These days, it seems like every kid's got something that makes him or her different from the pack.


Aren't we forgetting one fundamental problem? California has already spoken, and the majority of it's voting residents said 8 years ago that Gay marraige should not be allowed in California. If we don't like the outcome of the vote, do we sue for change? I'm more concerned about sending this message to my kids than the gay issue itself.


Thank you! That "Yes on 8" ad was so full of blatant lies and hysteria it was disgusting. But they have nothing else to work with considering they have no facts on their side. Their only desire is to eradicate the right of same-sex couples to marry thereby imposing their religious beliefs on others. There is no scientific evidence that children are adversely affected by having same-sex parents (studies show they're just as happy and healthy as those raised by opposite-sex parents) and the claims that children will be taught about "gay marriage" in school are outright lies.

Face it, the only arguments against same-sex marriage are religious. All others are fabricated and simply not based on facts. No legitimate physicians, psychologists, anthropologists, etc. make the claim that only heterosexual marriage is good for society or children. Only those with an anti-gay agenda do that.



People opposing gay marriage or even discussion of it with young people obviously haven't had much to go on about gay people other than what they see in the media. Calling marriage between a man and a woman the 'ideal' shows an incapacity to look beyond an archetype of perfection to the reality that normal, upstanding people sometimes happen to be gay and many times desire a full life filled with love, marriage, and family just like anybody else. Love between two people is universal, and so are family values and morals. Being born gay doesn't exclude you from these things, and denying people the same shot at happiness as straight couples is a narrow way of thinking about society and societal good. As to whether gay marriage is taught in schools or not, I've never even heard of straight marriage being taught. But if marriage were to come up, what would be so bad about talking about gay people? It's not contagious.


to the hard core biggots out there.
'gay marriage' won't be taught in schools
no 'gay marriage' propositions don't restrict church's freedom of speech. tho the government needs to step in and stop most the radicial christian's from using their church's as breeding growns for political terrorism.
from a purely economic perspective, we need prop 8 to fail and fuel our declining economy.


you should look at link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1352578267/bctid1784521903

Since Mass. has already been dealing with this issue, you can see the affect in the schools (based on the clip above). We really should be looking at the states that have already put this law into affect and see how things have changed. When my kids were in kindergarden a couple of years ago as part of their Social Studies they talk about families and held discussions regarding the different types of families. So I have no doubt there will be particular attention to gay marriage as being taught as part of the curriculum. I just read something about the LA School District supporting No on Prop 8. So no doubt LA schools will be at the forefront!


Honestly people, grow up! From reading some of the comments I would conclude some people would be more comfortable in denial land rather than "equality for all". I know it's not very popular to point out the obvious... it's safer to go into distraction mode and high morals.. but should you look at the state of things, a family is formed by those who love and care for you. The right to marry the person who you love is a personal right, not a state right. It is among those IDEALS this country was founded upon. Equality for all. This is why we no longer see "white only" signs in the South anymore, this is why women can actually vote, and why Americans with disabilities have the right to access the work force just like any other citizen without disabilities. Morally we strive for equality. Morally we have come to terms with inequalities and have adjusted accordingly. You pull these bogus studies that "prove" children do better with a mother and a father, but these studies have no way of measuring how a child does under same sex parents because there is no one to study here in the States. It may be unpopular for an isolationist nation like ours to look for examples beyond our borders. But if there were an honest attempt at addressing this irreverent example of immoral discrimination of citizens, you may look to Denmark, Holland, or even Spain to see how they are doing with same sex marriages. Going back to Spain, 30 years ago it was the most conservative dictatorship in the planet. Now, after living through the consequences of those doctrines... of rights for some and intolerance for all others, well, they have stayed true to their moral values and have been able to overcome social hurdles much higher and much more ingrained in their society than we could find here in the U.S. If Spain can accept same sex marriage, how can it STILL be an issue here in the "Land Of The Free"? WE should be setting the example, and yet we sell out to excuses and third world mentality which states that we will say we are the bastion of TRUTH, EQUALITY, and FREEDOM when in reality its whenever we are either against the wall, or whenever its convenient to live up to these supposed ideals. Live up to what you preach! Discrimination has no place in our society. Not for blacks, not for women, and not for gays. You demand gays contribute in taxes, work force, armed forces, and society the same way everyone else does... then give them the same rights you grant everyone else who contributes to the same society we all belong to! Otherwise, give them exemptions! Im sure that will get you moving! Tax break for gays in exchange for unequal treatment under the law. Hmm! something to think about!


The words bigot and hate are simply just cheap shots. Because one side would like to keep the definition of marriage the same you're telling me (who you don't even know) that I hate people. Really, then my sister who is lesbian I hate. No, I don't think so. You're right this is America and we should BE the example! The BEST example of a "family" is the traditional, long standing definition of a mother and a father. That's the example. We may not all live to the utmost example, but that's what examples are there for. For us to strive for. In addition, opening the definition of marriage would then have the potential to open the door to include ANY alternative lifestyle. That's why there is domestic partnership or civil unions. ADD rights,exemptions, etc to THOSE laws instead of trying to change a definition that has been around for ever. Prop. 8 really has MANY more implications than simply giving tax exemptions to gays. Prop 8 does not TAKE any rights away! It's a definition we're preserving, remember?

Karin Klein

For Kel--I did try to look at the video, but it wouldn't come up. I'll try again later.

I'm assuming it has something to do with teachers in Massachusetts saying things to kids about gay marriage. There was the case of a teacher who read a picture book to her class about a king who was looking for a wife but ended up picking a prince. Remember that teachers who are inclined to read these kinds of books can do it with or without a ban on gay marriage. These are community issues to be resolved by communities.

Kids are going to hear some things in school that their parents disagree with. Happens with my kids and serves as a great opportunity for family discussions about our values and beliefs and why they're different from the teacher's (or whoever's). But that's not the same as a curriculum that demands the "teaching of gay marriage" to California's children rehgardless of their parents' beliefs.

Karin Klein

Gordon, on the issue of which way voters went on gay marriage, I would refer again to the history of interracial marriage. The California Supreme Court caused an uproar when it ruled in 1948 that the law against interracial marriage was unconstitutional.

It was the court's job then, as it was the court's job this year, to rule on whether a law voiolated the state constitution. That's not judicial activism; it's the most basic job of the Supreme Court, both state and U.S.

The arguments were the same then as they are now, that interracial marriage would bring upheaval to societal order, that this was against God's plan and so forth. If the voters of California had at that point passed a constitutional amendment like Prop. 8, refusing to recognize interracial marriage, such couples would have been left without recourse for 19 years, until the U.S. Supreme Court finally ruled on the matter. Is this something we would be proud of, looking back?


I firmly believe we need to keep the traditional definition of marriage which has been around for thousands of years. After all, shouldn't women become the property of their husbands after they get married?

Ellen Evans


Traditionally, marriage has meant ownership of the wife by the husband. Should we write that into the California constitution as well?


It seems many of you don't realize the implications that Prop 8 already has. I have heard from KINDERGARTEN TEACHERS that they already have to say Mom & Mom, or Dad & Dad if they mention Mom & Dad. I would say that it has already affected our children and their curriculum. Unless I send my children to a religious private school, or begin to homeschool, how do I keep my child from learning a different DEFINITION of marriage? Learning happens outside of school too, & I teach my children all the time- that's what a parent does. I don't want to teach my child that their teacher is wrong about a definition.
It's difficult to try to discuss a subject when right away people see you as close-minded. We all have our personal beliefs. The gay & lesbian community have the rights that I have, they can have a partnership, it's called a civil union. I am just asking (along with many other people) that the DEFINITION of marriage remain unchanged.


If a child is best raised by a father and mother, why not put a measure on the ballot to ban divorce while we're at it? I wonder how Prop 8 supporters would feel about people trying to take away THEIR fundamental rights...?


Ellen and Tim
if you see marriage as such a negative, why would you want to have it re-defined to include anyone else?
You should vote yes on 8 to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else!

brian sullivan

Doesnt anyone realize that we dont want gay marriage. We just want to marry with no extra rights or privledges. Just marry. The laws in this country in order to have the same protections make you have to marry. The answer is to eliminate the word Marriage in all government documents and make everyone have civil unions. Then the churches can have there word Marry if they want in a religious aspect. It is only a word. Get over it already. This country is in deep trouble.

Vote NO


Constitutions are for granting rights not taking them away.



Wow, I'm a little surprised on how many people are mentioning gay parents as if they don't already exist. Same-sex couples can, and do, adopt. How does Proposition 8 help defend the 'ideal family?' If Proposition 8 passes, there won't be less gay couples and there won't be less adoption by gay couples. If it is going to be a topic in school when discussing family units, then it already is. On the same note, why does everyone assume that all gay couples want to have a family? The majority of what same-sex marriage accomplishes has to do with the legal and governmental complications that arise.

Strictly speaking, the idea of gay marriage is about obtaining legal rights. The only reason this mess exists is because people have intertwined the idea of a religious marriage with a federally recognized marriage. Proposition 8 will effectively shut off the benefits and responsibilities for same-sex couples that are afforded to opposite-sex couples, but it will not stop same-sex couples from receiving marriage ceremonies of a spiritual nature at churches who are already willing to perform them.

It simply horrifies me how distant some people can be. I won't call anyone here hate-mongers, because I don't believe any of the messages were posted with true vitriol. I do, however, feel that some of you are not aware of the hardships and discrimination that same-sex couples face today. Same-sex marriage in a purely federal sense isn't a novelty; it is a necessity.


Whatever your view of what marriage should be, the truth is that there have been real consequences as a result of same sex marriage being made legal in Massachusettes. NPR recently produced a report of many of these. The story (titled "When Gay Rights and Religious Liberties Clash") can be found at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486191.

Prop 8 does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, for any gay couples. However, religious institutions in Massachusettes are now being sued only because they practice their religious beliefs. Catholic adoption agencies have been sued and as a result have closed because they will not adopt to same sex couples. Now, the same sex couple has the FREEDOM to go to any other agency in Massachusetts and adopt, but the Catholic church does not have the freedom to practice their own beliefs. These religious institutions are not fighting to take away freedom from gay couples, they are fighting for their members to be able to have their own views as well.

When the Catholic church states that they believe homosexual behavior is immoral, that's not to say that anyone has to agree with them, however, they do have the right to say it, however inflamatory it might be. It's one of the greatest and most difficult parts of the constitution. In this NPR article, there is an example of a doctor who refused to do in vitro fertilization treatment for a gay couple because it violated her religious beliefs. She did, however, refer the couple to another doctor who was willing to do the treatment, respecting the couple's right to have the treatment done.

This doctor was sued because she refused to do the procedure. Now, the couple was able to have it done, but the doctor no longer has the freedom to practice her own religious beliefs and refuse herself. How is that constitutional? Whether you agree with the religious views of this doctor or not, in America, she should be able to practice her beliefs.

Check out the article, it gives credit to some of these facts the Yes on Prop 8 ads are putting out there.


To those who say allowing gays to "marry" has no effect on traditional marriage, you are forgetting that being gay automatically enters one into "protected class" status in the state of California. This status has many far-reaching, legal effects. Before the Supreme court ruling in May there was only one type of marriage and each marriage was legally equal to the other. Since the May ruling, we now have two classes of marriage, one being legally inferior to the other. There is no arguing the point. This is true. The simple fact is that many reasonable people here in California do not believe this should be the case in light of the fact that a domestic partnership affords all the leagl protections that a marriage does. Simply put, most reasonable people think giving gays the right to marry, coupled with the inevitable unintended consequences that would surely come in the following decade, is going far beyond simple "equality" to the point that some become more "equal" than others.


Bottom line. People are voting to ban me the right to marry my lover. This is suppose to be America. I was born here and cannot marry my lover of over 10 years just beacause I'm gay. If I were straight though, I could go on TV and marry someone I've only known for weeks and then divorce them. How is this fair? How is this protecting this so-salled sacred act of marriage. Anyone that votes for Prop 8 is a hiprocite. Prop 8 should not allow marriages on TV, "Vegas" style marriages when people are drunk, etc. Maybe Gays should get together and start taking away rights of straights. How would they feel. I love this Country but it does feel like Iran to me. Next they will pass a law that if you are gay, they will hang you.


Everyone can have their own beliefs but there is a certain limit on those when you are working with the public. The muslims who were praying on the plane were taken off because of people being scared of them. Why can't they, it is their beliefs. Why can't they treat their wives they way they do in a Middle Eastern county when they are in America? It is their beliefs. Don't get involved in an occupation that you don't want to help people. If I was in the military, I dont get to decide well I don't like black people so I won't help them out of the building, or protect them or whatever. She is a doctor to help people. That's it.

We don't get full right as dometic partners or cilvil unions. We don't get any tax benefits. We change our rules and views of laws and relgion overtime. No one follows religion the same way it has been for 1000's of years. Who here follows every commandment? Please you people that say YES are denying what really has been going on.
Me and my husband raise 2 children of his. They can go with their mother and step-father but ask them why they are with us and because they say they feel a family at our home then their mothers. If I can't get married and not be recognized then why do I have to pay the same taxes and follow the same rules. If there is a Separation of Church and State then remove Marriage from those laws and make them fair for everyone.


Karin, I have to disagree with you - and the narrow 4-3 majority on the state Supreme Court - in your analogy to the 1948 ruling that struck down bans on interracial marriage.

The racial ban treated people unequally and unfairly in granting access to marriage. Prop 8 treats everyone the same.

The starting point for clear thinking on this issue is to recognize that the word and institution, "marriage," has and always has had a particular definition - a union of two sexes. Prop. 8 doesn't prohibit anyone of age from entering into such a union.

Anti-miscegenation laws, as struck down in 1948, did deny some men and some women the right to enter into a legally sanctioned man-woman union, because of race.

In contrast, Prop 8 doesn't stop any many or any woman the right to enter into marriage (a legally sanctioned man-woman union), not on racial grounds, not on grounds of height, weight, intelligence - or sexual orientation.

Every man of age is free to marry the woman of his choice, and every woman of age is free to marry the man of her choice.

And don't laugh or sneer - there have been gay men married to women, and lesbians married to men, throughout history, and of course there are today. Prop. 8 doesn't change that. Under Prop 8, everyone of age is free to marry.

Karin Klein

Edward, I would take issue with your statement:
The racial ban treated people unequally and unfairly in granting access to marriage. Prop 8 treats everyone the same.

You are saying that Prop. 8 treats everyone the same from a vantage point of marriage being solely between man and woman. From that same vantage point, marriage to people of an earlier era meant marriage being solely between a man and woman of the same race.

By that reasoning, one could argue that the earlier laws treated everyone the same. Black mwn could marry black women. White women could marry white men. What's unequal about that?

The court struck down that commonly accepted definition of marriage back in the 1940s. The court this year struck down the definition of marriage to which you subscribe. You believe that your definition of marriage is sacrosanct, while others do not.


Once again our lives as Californians, is affected by a decision of the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, we as a citizenry rarely do what is honorable and right because we lack the courage of our convictions.
Our spirit to stand up for what is right has been eroded by political correctness and fears that as a people we might be accused of being thought of as intolerant or branded bigots. Over the years, we have stood by and allowed the Courts and legislature to pass laws that are contributing to the decay of our culture established by our Forefathers, and is creating a society of self-indulgent individuals that care nothing for the laws of decency and the real freedoms our Country represents.
Amazingly, the proponents of this new society have accomplished this by perverting the meaning of these freedoms to include the acceptance of unnatural and deviant sexual behavior and they have done it all in the name of the Constitution of the United States. One might ask how could this have happened? Certainly, nothing could be wrong with protecting the so-called rights of a fellow Human Being, could it? As Americans, we thought we were removing the Government from our bedrooms but unfortunately, that is not where it stopped. Gays with a newfound sense of freedom and acceptance could not leave well enough alone, they had to rub our heterosexual noses in their lifestyle. It was not good enough for them that we were tolerating something that deep down we felt was disgusting and corruptive behavior. They demanded that we accepted homosexuality as normal and even teach our children it was ok to be Gay. We now see the consequences of tolerating something that should have never have been tolerated in the first place. This is a perfect example of “giving an inch and losing a mile”.
If you think for a minute that Gays are going to stop at merely corrupting marriage in this Country, think again. It is already becoming a hate crime in Massachusetts, for voicing opinions against homosexuality. The Gay and Lesbian blogs are full of denials that they would ever file lawsuits against Churches or demand that schools teach homosexuality; they either do not know what is going on in their own movement or they are just plain lying. The proof is all over the internet. Moreover, this situation, if not stopped will become worse. The time has come to stand up and be counted; we must stop this nonsense before it gets so far out of control that we lose what decency we have left as a society.


"Misleading ads?" The author here is completely avoiding the obvious.

One case of many: Look at what happened to the Boy Scouts? They took a neutral stand on openly gay members and because of it are now are branded a "hate" group and "hate-mongers" by the gay community.

Whenever somebody doesn't go along with the agenda it's HATE. Grow up!

If activist lawyers or GLAAD wasn't around, I'm sure the majority wouldn't care either way. It's the activist arm of the gay community that wants to impose, litigate, and sue their values on the vast majority.


Ms. Klein:

We have seen over the last few decades how very strong the correlation is between the rate of fatherless households in a community and the degree to which the neighborhood will suffer from a whole host of societal ills such as crime, violence, illegal drug use, delinquency in young males, early sexual activity and promiscuity in young females...

Same-sex marriage will ‘merely’ increase the number of fatherless families (significantly) but, since families that start off motherless have been so rare until now, (Whenever a baby is born, you can be sure there is a mommy very close by.) legalizing same-sex marriage would inevitably *multiply* the number motherless families by many fold.

It would be absurd to assume that mothers have any less beneficial influence on children and families than do fathers. So how could multiplying the number of motherless families in the world not cause a whole host of its own kinds of societal ills?

We do often hear the story of a single parent who courageously manages to overcome the odds to successfully usher her (or his) children into adulthood. But the overall effect on our communities of fatherless families alone should make it obvious that for every story of successful single parenting, there are many more stories to be told of single parents who are unable to overcome the odds, and of children who suffer as a result.

Why in the world would we want to institute a form of ‘marriage’ that, from birth, denies a child either a mother or a father?


It's sad... this battle is over, the No Campaign won't be able to raise the same funds... Victory for the right-wingers is a sure thing. I just hope the people who already got married won't see their marriages nullified. Another sad page in American History...

Karin Klein

Leland, I wonder whether your observations aren't confusing correlation with causality (something my statistics teachers used to beat into my head). Yes, there is a high frequency of single-parent families in impoverished, crime-prone areas. The question is what caused what. Did the poverty cause both the single-parent families? Did the single-parent families cause the crime? Is there another factor we haven't examined?

Once poverty and crime are taken out of the picture, what do we know about the outcomes for single-parent families? The studies I have seen so far are not definitive.

Beyond that, gay marriage takes families away from the single-parent construct and moves them toward two-parent families, with legal commitments that tend to keep those families together. What studies are there on these two-parent families compared with typical heterosexual two-couple families.

Certainly, divorce is generally not seen as an ideal outcome for families and children. But what are we dto do about this? Since gay couples will continue to form loving, lasting partnerships, and raise children, Prop. 8 changes nothing in this regard except to allow the marriages that brign a legal stability to the families.

I don't really know the numbers, but I wouold imagine that far more single-parent families involve heterosexual parents who never married, or heterosexual parents who divorced. So, should we ban unmarried girls and women from having children? (I'd love to see what the Proposition 4 supporters have to say about that.) Go back to tightly restrictive divorce laws even for desperately unhappy families? Proposition 8 is not a cure for any of the ills you suggest.


I think the gay community should have pushed to add an amendment that would have struck-out all references to marriage in the constitution and replaced it with the words "civil union." If that took place, it would be up to the churches to decide if gays, or anyone for that matter, could get married or not.

Marriage is a religious institution. I don't understand why our government is pushing the religious beliefs on others by saying "we'll marry you, but not you because you're black and you're white or you're gay" They shouldn't even be using the term "marriage" as the institution of marriage is rooted in religion. Isn't that against the U.S. constitution?


Dear Ms Klein,

Although, I realize that you disagree with my point of view, I must commend you for allowing both sides of the issure to be read on your blog. My opinion of the LA Times has come up a few notches. You are a true American Journalist!

John Williams

After watching the ad on protectmarriage.com, I am from North Carolina, I donated $35.00 to thier campaign. My coworker did the same. Why are civil unions with the same rights not equal. I believe that the gay community will maybe rest, only when everyone on earth agrees that it is the most desirable attribute a person can have.

Karin Klein

Thanks to all who joined this discussion, both for your participation and the generally thoughtful, civil tone of the discourse. I'm signing off for the night, but hope to provide a similar space for many such debates.

And Clayton--You couldn't have given me a nicer compliment.



People always site the “correlation vs. causality” issue as if doing so automatically disproves any causality being asserted – it doesn’t.

And in fact it has been very well established indeed that children who are reared by two married parents - a mother and a father - do better as adults by virtually all measures of wellbeing. (Better physical and mental health, higher levels of educational achievement, greater professional success, less incidence of alcoholism and drug abuse, lower rates of incarceration...) And that is at all income levels of the parents, by the way.

And of course, as a marriage that either fails or never occurs to begin with does tend to have such very detrimental effects on the individuals involved, then what should one think the cumulative effect of many such broken families would be on a community?

To take the consequences of fatherless households that I mentioned (crime, violence, illegal drug use, delinquency in young males, early sexual activity and promiscuity in young females...) and focus on poverty as the cause is not just absurd, it’s a straw-man response to my post as well. (Karin, I never sited poverty as a consequence of single parent families, or said anything about poverty in my post at all...)

But OK, poverty obviously is never an advantage. However, in and of itself poverty never has been - and never could be – the cause of any particular behavior. (Why is it that poor people are so often assumed to be inevitably and unavoidably lazy, shiftless, immoral, etc., anyway? They aren’t.) But, even if the absence of a father or mother in a family does not cause anyone to be poor (lack and/or loss of income does that) it typically does make it so much more difficult to overcome poverty and move to better financial circumstances.

Karin, it was very disappointing to see you resort to the tired (and lame) approach of suggesting that in order to advocate for the preservation and protection of the privileged status that genuine, traditional marriage has always enjoyed in human society then one must, to be consistent, also call for the absolute prohibition of divorce under any circumstances, the prosecution of women who get pregnant out of wedlock, or other such nonsense.

Of course one cannot expect anyone to stay married to a spouse who is abusive, unfaithful, or who has abandoned the marriage. And while out of wedlock pregnancy should be discouraged exactly because it so far from ideal, once it happens we can only do what is possible to cope with the circumstances.

You also stated (correctly, by the way) that Proposition 8 is not a cure for any of the societal ills that I mentioned. Who said it’s supposed to be? Proposition 8 is only intended to keep the situation from being made even worse than it already is by institutionalizing a form of counterfeit ‘marriage’ that would absolutely lead to the significant increase of motherless and fatherless households.


Proposition 8 is about protecting an institution that has been in place in society since the beginning of time. It has nothing to do with taking away people's rights; laws are in place to protect those rights. It has everything to do with freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the rights of children. Voting YES on Proposition 8 means you respect the union of a man and a woman to be the definition of marriage and not having that definition rewritten to suit a special interst group. It means supporting democracy where the people's voice rules the land and not four liberal judges. I support families, the rights of children and fairness. That is why I am voting YES on Proposition 8.


John Williams,

In fact, California’s Domestic Partnership laws do bestow upon the participants all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of marriage. All the defeat of proposition 8 will do is allow the advocates of same-sex ‘marriage’ to use the force of law to compel the rest of us to accept, approve of, and even support homosexuality (and the moral legitimacy of homosexuality) against our will.

That is the agenda.

David from Livermore CA

I believe that marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman. Not between two men, or two women, or one man and multiple women etc. Prop 8 does not remove rights from gay couples in civil unions. Prop 8 simply defines marriage as being between a man and a woman as it has been for several thousand years. For more information on Prop 8 go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_8_(2008) and ProtectMarriage.com.


Why does NOT having a constitutional ban on something mean we all have to accept and tolerate it? There's no constitutional ban on mother-raping, but that doesn't mean everyone in the country is forced to love and support raping mothers. Your logic is flawed. NOT banning something that doesn't affect you... DOESN'T AFFECT YOU.


I wish to advise that careful attention is needed in deciding how to vote on Proposition 8.

First, Proposition 8 is simply stated, an ammendment to the California Constitution that defines marriage. Limiting marriage to only heterosexual couples.
This ammendment does not revoke the statewide benfits given to homosexuals whatsoever. It only stops the legal marriage of homosexual couples.

Proposition 22 had passed by 61% by the Californian citizen vote. The California Supreme Court overturned this Proposition and homosexual couples were still allowed marriage.
Now, Proposition 8 has been proposed, going to the vote of Californian citizens, to ammend the constitution.

The effects of both outcomes I feel are needed in deciding which way to vote.

If Proposition 8 does pass, homosexual couples will simply not be allowed marriage. Realize that all the benifits previously granted them will not diminish or disappear, this is not about that.

If Proposition 8 does not pass, then the state of California will have to uphold homosexual marriages as equal to heterosexual marriages. This means that children in schools must be taught that both marriages are equal, and also they would be taught certain characteristics of the relationships, but obviously "age appropriately". Adoption agencies will have to be unbiased in allowing all forms of couples to adopt. Religious adoptong agencies would have to either change their own beliefs (if their belief is that only heterosexual couples should adopt) or give up the agency. As homosexual couple's rights are pushed further it will likely force churches and other organizantions to stop protesting or lose government benifits. Churches (etc.) would lose their tax exemptions, lawsuits against such organizations would become commonplace. Religions that will not conform to this ideal will likely lose their marriage licenses as well. Thus the freedom to religion is diminished.

At this point, you might ask yourself which outcome allows more freedom, obviously that is what this is about.

I personally am in favor of Proposition 8, because I believe that the family is the unit that defines America. No other organization is more important. I will not stand by and watch what I consider sacred to be dissolved by the pursuit of ill willed "freedoms".

The good people of California voted in favor of defining marriage as between man and woman in 2000, and it is my hope that citizens will get out and vote again.


Traditional marriage? There is no such thing. I've seen here several references to traditional marriage and some have gone so far as to state that it's been around forever. Really, it hasn't. Ask any first year anthropology student. Even most man/woman marriages are not traditional in the sense that the average American would view it. Most are arranged, many are forced, often upon the very young. Marriage between a man and woman for love has only been around a few hundred years. Among some of the other marriage types that have been around for thousands of years (along with man/woman types) are unions of one man and more than one woman (polygamy) and one woman with brothers (polyandry) and so forth. Throughout human history, most marriage types have been defined more by the conditions a society is living in (high altitude, tropical, nomadic, and so forth) than by love.

Modern humans radically changed things when they started marrying for romance, and it never would have happened without the industrial age that gave us more food and more time to consider such luxuries. Yet, we still seek to keep a segment of society from experiencing marriage for romance. The party line for those against gay marriage is that "traditional" marriage is all about childrearing (until someone brings up making divorce impossible or giving tax credits to gays for not being able to marry). How many people do you know that had a marriage arranged for them with the most suitable candidate for the purpose of procreation? In reality, here in the US, we marry for love. And though most expect to eventually have children many marry with no intention whatsoever of ever procreating. Should we put a stop to that as well?

To the gentleman that says right now any gay man can marry a woman, I ask, would you be okay with your heterosexual daughter marrying a gay man?

And to the person that said man/woman marriage was the IDEAL, and thus we should protect it, I challenge you to prove it. Marriage is a legal partnership with a 50% fail rate. No sane business person would ever sign up to that professionally. And speaking strictly of only the marriage partnership, arranged marriages have a much higher success rate than do those undertaken for love.

People that don't believe in extending rights they enjoy to others may not always be hate-mongers, but they certainly are fear-mongers. I'm bone tired of a nation of fear. It is not at all acceptable to me that because "most" people are against gays marrying, then gays shouldn't marry. That is the tyranny of the majority, if it's true. Sometimes you just have to not let the majority decide...or we still would disallow interracial marriages, and would have separate water fountains for "coloreds".



Did you notice how all of the different types of marriage that you mentioned have one particular thing in common? Every one of those forms of marriage is built around the nucleus of a man and a woman. And it has always been that way throughout all of human history.

Some cultures have (and still do) bring a man and a woman together for marriage in different ways or out of different motives. Indeed, as you’ve pointed out, sometimes more men and/or women have even been added to the formula. (There is a reason, however, why such cultures never progressed to develop into modern civilizations. Polygamy and polyandry are ultimately destructive to a society. But that’s another discussion...) In any case, marriage always has - and always will - *necessarily* include a man and a woman.

And yes, the state’s most compelling and only legitimate interest in privileging marriage (as the union of one man and one woman) is that a legally committed man and woman not only ensures the existence of the next generation, but also at least allows for the best possible environment for the welfare of the children who will be the future citizens of society.

I know... I know... Many men and women have always married who are not even capable of having children (as with the elderly or the infertile) and these days - especially in western culture - people often marry who just don’t even want to procreate, period. Even in these cases, however, genuine marriage does still interest the state in that the union of a man and woman benefits society by bridging the gender gap of our species. On the other hand, same-sex ‘marriage’ actually widens the greatest difference between humans by further segregating men from women.

Besides, think of it like this: If an author were to discover that a lot of people are using the books she writes as doorstops, would she suddenly have any interest in - or obligation to - write longer tomes so that her books would be heavier, better doorstops? I don’t think so! Whatever some people are using her books for, her interest in publishing remains the same.

In the same way, even if many couples are able to take advantage of (some of) the benefits of marriage for reasons other than why we as a society would want to encourage and privilege marriage, our interest in supporting (and defending) the institution of marriage - in its present form - remains the same. It is the only institution we have that binds men and women to one another and men to their own offspring. (Women, for obvious reasons, always at least start off bound to their own offspring...)

And the fact that many married couples are either infertile or uninterested in procreation is certainly no rational argument for completely reordering the form that marriage has always had in human society merely for the sake of compelling all of us, by law, to approve of, encourage, and support homosexuality.

There is a reason why no culture in history (at least none that has survived up to this day) has ever recognized any group of men only or women only as a marriage regardless of what the sexual practices of such groups were or whether or not homosexuality was approved of by the society in question. And that would be the same reason why we should not legally recognize even just two men or two women as ‘married’: What is sanctified by law is encouraged and will certainly become more common. And same-sex couples are, by themselves, not capable of producing the next generation and, for reasons I’ve already stated in this thread, such unions cannot provide what children need most for their welfare – a committed mother *and* father to provide and care for them.

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