Oct. 5th, 2009

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Judge to Prop. 8 backers: Turn over your papers

"A federal judge has ordered sponsors of California's Proposition 8 to release campaign strategy documents that opponents believe could show that backers of the same-sex marriage ban were motivated by prejudice against gays.


If the courts find that the ballot measure was motivated by discrimination, they could strike it down without having to decide whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry."


"Andrew Pugno, a lawyer for the Prop. 8 sponsors, said Friday it was unprecedented to allow "the losing side of a campaign to pry into the most intimate strategy discussions of the winning side."

"This will make any citizen group think twice before attempting a ballot initiative," Pugno said."

At first, I was overjoyed: I never even thought of that as a possible route to overturning the damn thing! The more I consider the implications and possible precedent this could set, however, the more worried I become. On the one hand, Prop 8 was motivated by bigotry, everybody involved damn well knows that, and the federal goverment at least has made it very clear how it feels about bigotry-motivated (or interpreted) laws.

On the other hand... this was a citizen group, and the very last thing we want is for citizens to be held accountable for their thoughts and motivations. Major free speech red flag, there.

On the other other hand, a citizen's motivation is called into question vis a vis criminal trials, yes? Intent being the primary distinction between murder and manslaughter, and critical to assigning the term "hate crime?" I'm not sure quite how that would apply here, unless Prop 8 is being discussed as, literally, a "criminal act."

On the other^3 hand, and unrelatedly to everything else, it would actually be awesome if political campaigns were forced to share what passes for their "strategy," in a general sense. It's disgusting how much politics today is indistinguishable from marketing, and one of the effects of that is the victor is generally the party with the better "strategy," regardless of how the population actually feels about the issues at stake. Forcing strategy documents to be made public after the fact could possibly do a lot to level the playing field.

Thoughts? How stupid and/or naive am I being?


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