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November 30, 2008 06:19 PM UTC

Gazette: Yay Gay Marriage, Boo Campaign Finance Law

  • by: Colorado Pols

The arch-conservative Colorado Springs Gazette begins their latest editorial with a startling concession:

Openly gay Colorado Congressman-elect Jared Polis, a Boulder liberal, plans to join thousands of activists throughout the country in protesting the opening of the film “Milk” this weekend at Cinemark-Century theaters. The movie is based on the true story of the late Harvey Milk, a San Francisco politician who was among the country’s first openly gay public officials.

Polis and other pro-gay activists are upset that Cinemark-Century owner Alan Stock donated $9,999 to support Proposition 8, the new law that forbids gay marriage in California. Polis, his partner and other gay couples have chosen to boycott Cinemark-Century theaters since learning of the donation.

One can certainly understand why gays would avoid doing business with a company whose owner donated to Proposition 8. Why would someone who supports gay marriage want to help enrich a man who uses his personal wealth to oppose gay marriage? Few actions are more patriotic than voting with one’s wallet.

Proposition 8 is bad law, and may not withstand judicial scrutiny. Adults who live as married couples are, in fact, married whether the majority likes it or not. Marriage is a contract between two people. The contract involves God and/or a church only if those two people choose to include a third party in the contract… [Pols emphasis]

And with that, thousands of copies of the Gazette editorial page are rushed straight to the nearest wood-burning fireplace to protect the children. Frantic calls are placed to James Dobson’s McMansion to make sure he hasn’t suddenly had a massive coronary. Over at New Life Church, the emergency memo is clear: “Do not let Ted Haggard read this.”

But seriously, lighten up people! The Gazette was just trying to remind their by-now apoplectic readers of what’s really important in this story. Which is, naturally, those goddamn pesky campaign finance disclosure laws.

What’s unfortunate in all of this, however, is the fact that Stock can’t choose to spend his money on a political cause without having to share that decision with the world. Federal election laws require that campaign contributions exceeding $200 – to committees, candidates and political action committees – be publicly disclosed.

The law should be changed, because it authorizes government to intrude in personal financial decisions and it facilitates intimidation. When Stock gave nearly $10,000 to a cause, he was making a private decision to associate with and support a cause he believed in. Whether it’s perceived as a good cause or a bad cause is immaterial to this argument and subjective…

Disclosure of Stock’s private decision, pertaining to his private money, serves the interests of gay activists and others who wish to retaliate against supporters of a bad new law. But it doesn’t serve the interest of respecting free and private associations. It’s important that people be able to support causes privately, within contribution constraints, so they can freely support even the most outrageous of causes without fear of retaliation.

…It’s great for citizens to vote with their wallets, and to protest public actions of businesses and citizens. Boycotts represent market forces at work. But the personal donation of private money in support of a ballot issue should not be made public by force of law, as disclosure facilitates mob rule and retaliation against personal choices.

In its way, this is a microcosm of the fundamental conflict between the two historical power bases of the Republican Party: the laissez-faire old-school GOP who cares most about their dollars being free and could really give two shits about religious right sermonizing, and the evangelicals who are critical Republican votes but won’t have their principles compromised in the service of somebody else’s plutocratic goals (see above). The letters to the editor in response to this one ought to be fun.

Treating these two platform planks–opposition to gay marriage versus “deregulating” campaign finance laws–as mutual exclusives, which of course they’re not but let’s have some fun with it anyway, which one would you tell the GOP to pick? A poll follows.

What's more important to the GOP: gay marriage or campaign finance deregulation?

View Results

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13 thoughts on “Gazette: Yay Gay Marriage, Boo Campaign Finance Law

  1. that a lot of GOP couldn’t care less about gay marriage, and some support it. But the poll is too funny!!

    What’s important to the GOP is to get rid of all the idiots who think gay marriage is more important compared to say, oh, let me think — starting wars or spending like fools when you get into power…..  

  2. Hell, even Bob Schaffer, who said he wouldn’t be able to “campaign loudly and proudly” with John McCain because his campaign finance position was “destructive to America” thinks there should be full disclosure, just no limits.

    It’s the one and only thing I agree with Bob on.

    What is the Gazette smoking? Disclosure is absolutely necessary to sustain a free and sovereign republic. Do they really want the Chinese dumping billions of untraceable dollars to influence our elections?

  3. But spreading misinformation to sway voters under a cloak of anonymity is what?

    My favorite part

    The law should be changed, because it authorizes government to intrude in personal financial decisions and it facilitates intimidation.

    Two things here.  Getting involved in contracts is government intrusion, apparently our author agrees, but thinks that this is somehow different.  Please acknowledge the irony.

    Also, is the government intimidating this guy?  Fix your sentence, it’s ambiguous to the point of ridiculousness.

    It is nice that Musgrave has resurfaced just to vote here and often.  Seven is plenty Marilyn.

  4. How many ballot issues have they run nationally to outlaw campaign finance laws? Few, if any. But I believe they have run an initiative now in every state that has an initiative process to outlaw gay marriage.

  5. and to care about it much more than campaign finance, is that proposing/opposing campaign finance does not generate any spark from the followers. Gay marriage is kind of like abortion in that it generates revenue.

    1. It’s our most idiotic of platforms.  Someone else’s marriage has no effect on mine.

      Honestly?  I probably know more well-adjusted, stable gay relationships than I do straight ones. Anecdotal? Yes, but I think fairly representative.

  6. The primary legal argument against campaign finance limits has focused on treating money as a form of speech. As such, allowing unlimited contributions without disclosure would seriously undermine that comparison.

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