Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Show us the money, Ellen!

Ellen de Generes has finally gotten involved in the battle over Proposition 8. She's made a 30-second spot that is accessible from her show website. Yet, despite the millions she has earned from her tv shows and concert dates, so far no donation to the campaign. Her mother, Betty, however, has given $700. I'm certain I have far less than Betty de Generes, and I've given more than that already and have plans to give more.

So Ellen -- love you, love almost everything about you, thinking about being you for Halloween...but WHERE'S THE MONEY?! We have the ads in place that will counter the lies the other side is spreading, but we need cash to get them on the air. Come on, write a check. If Brad Pitt can drop $100K, you can do a million, can't you? Please, please write the check. Today.


Leah and Tyler Forester said...

Hi Tom this is foresterinc.blogspot.com. I am not sure if you remember me. You commented on my blog just the other day. I wanted to say how I appreciate your thoughts. I can respect a person who can speak matters of their heart rather than sitting the fence quitly. I wanted to continue to discuss the subject matter of Prop 8. You will have to excuse the fact that I cannot answer all your questions at this time but I will continue untill I have answered all of them. If it's ok with you I would like to discuss it without any confrontation. This is why I love America because you can do the very thing we are doing right now.
Tom I am no lawyer, or writter, or anyone of high position, just a new mother of my 3 month old trying hard to raise my children the best way possible. Please excuse me this is not a sob story or a feel sorry for me. Rather it is the very thing that drives me to protect my family and the sacred institution of marraiage. I AM ALL ABOUT THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS, especially to those who may be different then me. Prop 8 to me is about definition not discrimination. Proposition 8 is NOT an attack on gay couples and does not take away the rights that same-sex couples already have under California’s domestic partner law. California law already grants domestic partners all the rights that a state can grant to a married couple. Gays have a right to their private lives, but not to change the definition of marriage for everyone else.
schools are already required to teach the role of marriage in society as part of the curriculum, schools will now be required to teach students that gay marriage is the same as traditional marriage, starting with kindergarteners. By saying that a marriage is between “any two persons” rather than between a man and a woman, the Court decision has opened the door to any kind of “marriage.” This undermines the value of marriage altogether at a time when we should be restoring marriage, not undermining it. Let me give you an example of what I forsee if prop 8 doesn't pass. My daughter Zoe when she enters into kindergarden and is being read "King and King" me and my husband if we go to the school district about her not hearing that kind of matrial will be overlooked because of amendment 1, which then inturn we lose the fight of free exercise of our rights. I know we have all heard it but I bring it up to prove my example Take education, for instance. In Massachusetts, the state Supreme Court—not a vote of the people—redefined marriage just as occurred in California. In 2007, a Massachusetts elementary school began teaching kindergarten and first grade children about same-sex marriage using a book which told the story of a prince who “lived happily ever after” with another prince. (*I’m not commenting on the quality of the story here, just the legal outcome*). Some parents requested that their children be allowed to opt-out of such instruction until the seventh grade. They did not challenge the use of the book as part of the school’s curriculum. When the school district refused to let the children opt-out, the parents sued in federal court.

They lost. In a 47-page opinion, the First Circuit held that the parents’ right to choose traditional marriage education for their child was not protected by the First Amendment because same sex marriage was permitted by Massachusetts law. Free exercise could not justify legal exemption where due process and equal protection rights were in play.

a little side not sorry about not putting my sources down but I will now.

The above example sourced at cal.uscourts.gov and
The Parker court analyzed the parents’ First Amendment claims under U.S. Supreme Court opinion, Wisconsin v. Yoder, which views due process and free exercise rights “interdependently.” 406 U.S. 205 (1972). Under the Yoder approach, the First Circuit looked to whether the school’s curriculum imposed a “constitutional burden on the[] [parents’] rights, or on those of their children.” Finding no parallel between the Yoder plaintiffs’ “unique and demanding religious way of life that is fundamentally incompatible with any schooling system” and the Parker parents’ religious objection to mainstream law, the court held that the parents had “no constitutional right to ‘direct how [the] public school teaches their child.’” In short, there was “no federal case under the Due Process Clause which has permitted parents to demand an exemption for their children from exposure to certain books used in public schools.”
This is my last thought before I go the debate on prop 8 pits the first Amendment rights, The freddom of religon, press, and expression against the 14th Amendment, Citizenship rights. My fear is that Citizenship rights {free exercise} will lose all for a simple definition of the word marriage.

Tom like I said i would love to continue to talk. Sorry for being so scattered with my thoughts, i just hope you got everything I said

Tom said...

Leah and Tyler -

Thanks for participating in the discussion. I appreciate your willingness to approach this subject in a polite, thoughtful manner.

First, congratulations on the birth of your child! This is a very exciting time. Enjoy every moment -- it goes fast. (I know, my girl just turned 18!)

Now, on to the debate!

"Proposition 8 is NOT an attack on gay couples and does not take away the rights that same-sex couples already have under California’s domestic partner law."

No. But it takes away the rights we now have under marriage law. Although nearly legally equivalent (though there are some important differences), domestic partnerships and marriage are not the same thing. You know as well as I there is something profound about the relationships to which we give the term "marriage." That word is important to ALL Californians, gay or straight. And we need to use it, too. If Britney Spears' two-day Vegas debacle can be called a "marriage," then surely you can allow my marriage to a kind, loving man who is as interested in my well-being as I am in his to be called one, as well.

Besides, even if domestic partnerships were fully equivalent to marriage, "separate but equal" just isn't the American way.

"My daughter Zoe when she enters into kindergarden and is being read "King and King" me and my husband if we go to the school district about her not hearing that kind of matrial will be overlooked because of amendment 1, which then inturn we lose the fight of free exercise of our rights."

No, you haven't lost your rights, any more than a creationist has lost THEIR rights to teach their children that the earth is only 6000 years old, even though the textbooks in school teach something very different. You can still teach your daughter whatever you like. In fact, when the subject comes up, you could say something like:

"Mommy and Daddy believe very strongly that only a man and a woman should be able to get married. That's the way it is in our church, too. But not everyone believes the same way we do. Some people don't get married in a church. Even people who DO get married in church have to have a civil marriage license. That's a piece of paper that is issued by the state that says it's OK to be married. Almost every man who marries, marries a woman. But some men fall in love with another man, and some women fall in love with another woman. We think that's wrong, but the law says it's OK for them to marry. There are lots of laws that your daddy and I disagree with, but because we are good citizens, we follow all the laws, even the ones we don't agree with."

As far as reading books like "King and King," you seem bright enough to realize that doing so won't turn Zoe into a lesbian. You also seem smart enough to realize that YOUR influence on here is MUCH greater than any one story book that might be read to her.

But consider it from another point of view -- how about the minority of little boys and little girls who ARE gay? Isn't it OK that when they reach the age where their sexuality becomes apparent to them that they remember ONE storybook that matches the way THEY feel about things?

We live in a diverse society, and we must find ways to accommodate each other's differences. There are many storybooks where a character goes off to church. Should I, because I don't believe in god, have the right to have that book removed from a classroom? What if I believe dragons and elves are just silly tales that warp a child's mind and convince them to believe in things that aren't real? Should I be able to remove all the fairy tales from a classroom? Of course not. Same thing here -- one book raises a subject that is uncomfortable to you. Fine. We all have to deal with things that make us uncomfortable. Let me quote from an op-ed piece from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that said it better than I:

"Would a married gay couple moving next door create some discomfort for me as I explain it to my children? Darn right it would. I would undoubtedly squirm in that discussion. But life doesn't guarantee my comfort, and whether they keep their yard looking nice is my business, whereas their personal relationship is not.

"I've given this a lot of thought, and I think my prior stand against same-sex marriage was based on my personal thoughts about homosexuality rather than individual liberty. Those are two separate issues. My uneasiness may never go away, no matter how many names the enlightened ones call me, but the freedom of same-sex couples does not depend on my endorsement of their lifestyle.

"As a conservative, I believe the state should stay out of the business of judging which unrelated adults may and may not make a marriage commitment to each other, that when a same-sex couple chooses to marry, we conservatives should value their liberty far more than any personal or religious disagreement with homosexuality. Conservatives should welcome the contribution of same-sex marriage to the virtues of commitment and family stability we hold so dear."

Finally, one more quote for you. I would suggest you read this.

It's a brief from findlaw.com that establishes the case that religious freedom and marriage equality are tied to each other in case law.

Freedom isn't the same for everyone, so you have to make accommodations: "Just as the free exercise of religion is useless to an Orthodox Jew if it only protects his right to observe Sunday as the Sabbath, so too the right to marry is an empty guarantee if it only protects a lesbian’s right to marry a man."

There are going to have to be accommodations on both sides, because we're in this freedom thing together.

I want you to have complete freedom of religion in your life. But you may NOT have complete freedom of religion in MY life, if that makes sense. In other words, you may believe exactly what you like and teach your children exactly what you like, but when your religious beliefs attempt to step into MY life and remove MY rights, that's where we need to put up a wall.

Thanks for your time.

kat and jason said...

hi tom---you left a comment on my blog today about the prop 8 issue. while i applaud you for actually having an opinion (where lots of people just sit on the fence)i'd rather you kept your opinion on your own blog---and not pollute my blog. everyone is free to voice their own opinion. as you stated

"I want you to have complete freedom of religion in your life. But you may NOT have complete freedom of religion in MY life, if that makes sense. In other words, you may believe exactly what you like and teach your children exactly what you like, but when your religious beliefs attempt to step into MY life and remove MY rights, that's where we need to put up a wall."

please don't "attempt to step into My life"

you advertise what you'd like, and let me do the same.

thanks for reading.


Tom said...

Katherine -

Thanks for your comment. I never had any intention to offend. I am simply trying to counter some of the misinformation I find around this issue. I will attempt to avoid your blog from now on, but I usually find these through blog searches and can't guarantee that if you post something again that it might not come up in my search and I won't remember your blog title from the dozens I visit each day.

But I will always endeavor to be respectful.

Anonymous said...


I have read several of your posts and the comments from those who have blogs you have visited. I too have visited blogs and attempted to leave comments, but in one case, I found the entire post deleted from the blog not just the comments a few days later. Many people (especially Mormons) can not tolerate open debate if it questions their belief systems or the authority from the church hierarchy. Still I applaud your efforts and see in some cases you have at least opened the door a crack. As an FYI, I grew up Mormon and remained in the church for 38 years, including getting married in the Temple. Now, much to the horror of my still very active Mormon family, I am divorced and openly gay. Prop 8 more than anything has caused additional rift in my family relationships as they can not accept me and fight to take away rights from the activist "gays".

On the subject of Ellen, I too would like to see here donate financially to the cause, but her much publicized wedding (including the spread in People), her talking about the Prop on her highly watched daily talk show, and her PSA have been worth much more than $ to the No on Prop 8 campaign. SO in that way I am conflicted. There are many more celebrities gay and otherwise who have done little or nothing.

Thanks again for what you do to help spread the message of Equality for all.

Todd in Costa Mesa

Tom said...

Todd -

Thanks for your comments.

I too have found many of my comments deleted, and sometimes entire posts. I'm happy to allow open debate on my blog, but they don't seem to be quite so open.

Kudos to you on finally being honest with yourself and your family. That's a tough time. I went through a similar experience -- married in the temple at 22, divorced and out of the closet at 39. But here I am, 12 years later, happily (no, ecSTATically!) married.

If you haven't already, get involved with the No on 8 campaign. Volunteer to phone bank. Do office work. DONATE! This is the biggest battle you or I will likely face in our lives, and we must put our shoulders to the wheel.

Best wishes to you, and good luck in dealing with your family.

Anonymous said...


Thanks! Tha family situation has been tough, but I knew it would be when I came out. Ironically, my ex-wife has been the most supportive and we have remained friends.

I have been involved with the No on 8 side, talking to co-workers and donating what I can. I gave up my planned trip to Palm Springs so I could donate the money to the campaign. I have tried to volunteer for the phone banks (there are none in Orange County) but both Long Beach and LA are already booked to capacity with volunteers. Which is great, so if you have other suggestions I am open to them. I do have a No on 8 sticker on my car and have used it to start conversations with my neighbors. I have also been reading the CASC decision and it has been very interesting and has given me hope for the future if Prop 8 does pass. I understand the enormity of this opportunity and I would prefer to win this battle now rather than have to continue fighting for our rights through the legal system.

Keep up the good fight! Thaks again for your blog.

Todd in Costa Mesa

Anonymous said...


Jeremy over at Good As You now reports that Ellen has given $100,000 to the No on Prop 8 side. So yeah!

Todd in Costa Mesa

Tom said...

Good news! Of course, being a hard guy to satisfy (and knowing that she is raking in MILLIONS from her show), I'm wondering why it wasn't more. Don't get me wrong, it's certainly more than I have given(!), but if Bruce Bastian can give a million and Steve Bing can give half a million, Ellen can handle a million. Or more. She is perhaps the most visible, popular gay person in America. She was recently married. She can afford it. And she could truly help make history.

Maybe she's holding back and it's going to be $100K per day until election. Wouldn't that be great?

Anonymous said...


That would be great, she has as much to lose as the rest of us and more opportunity to give tham I do. I can give up my vacation and donate out of each paycheck, but I can;t match even teh $2000 one of my brothers gave to the yes side... sigh.

She specifically bought airtime to run her PSA which is huge as it is more personal and someone many people, gay and straight, relate to as someone they can trust. Again, that message is worth much more than the money she is spending to air it. I also understand she has taped next Monday's show with Joe Biden where he comes out against Prop 8. In some ways, she gives 5 hours every week for gay equality which has changed many hearts and minds about gay people.

Todd in Costa Mesa

Pomoprophet said...

Yay for Ellen!