Opponents Lying in WA Marriage Equality Initiative


Ericka Johnson, president of the Seattle Atheists, reports at the Friendly Atheist that opponents of a marriage equality referendum in that state are making phone calls lying to people by telling them that they have to vote no on the amendment in order to support marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

Opponents of marriage equality of reached a new low. They have been calling voters in Washington who support marriage equality and lying to them, telling them they need to reject Ref. 74 in order to allow same-sex marriage.

Which is the exact opposite of true.

They are flat out lying to voters and saying they’re volunteering with “Citizens of Washington United for Marriage.” That organization does not exist. But it sounds a lot like Washington United for Marriage, the organization actually working to educate voters about the importance of approving Referendum 74.

Unfortunately, it isn’t a new low at all — it’s the same old low. This kind of thing is routine for Republicans and conservatives (and maybe for Democrats and liberals too, but I can’t remember ever seeing a report of it being done by anyone other than the right; if you know of any examples, let me know). I’ve heard all kinds of robocalls designed to screw up the way people vote, always done very close to the date of the election. Sometimes they tell them that the date of the election has been changed, or the location of their polling place. Sometimes they tell them that if they sign a certain petition, they could be victims of identity fraud. And yes, sometimes they tell people that they have to vote the wrong way on a referendum. It happens in every election cycle. And it can be very difficult to track who is behind the calls because there are no disclosure requirements for them.

Comments

  1. says

    One year in jail. No parole. Period.That’s what you should get if you got caught doing that. I have to wonder, How did the republican party get so conspicuously openly evil… I mean they’re just one hairsbreadth away from frankly admitting it. It’s just so WEIRD. If you had told me 10 years ago that it would get THIS bad…I would have written you off as a conspricy nutcase.

  2. criticaldragon1177 says

    Ed Brayton,

    If these people have to embrace tactics like this, it really, if anything ought to make them doubt what they believe. If expanding marriage to gay and lesbian couples was such a bad thing, one would think they wouldn’t have to lie like this.

  3. Johnny Vector says

    It’s obvious but worth noting that attempting to reverse people’s votes only works if you know you’re going to lose by a landslide. I suppose it’s possible they got a list of people who have donated to WU4M, but there’s no evidence of that in the linked story.

    So you see, they’re just trying to stop those unelected, activist citizens from thwarting the will of the people bigots.

  4. laurentweppe says

    If these people have to embrace tactics like this, it really, if anything ought to make them doubt what they believe

    Ever heard of this shitty argument:
    But the poor sheeple are so stoooooopid they need to be lied to by their intellectual betters so they don’t inavertly hurt themselves with their own stupidity“?

  5. trucreep says

    It’s pretty pathetic.

    I remember in 2010, there was an effort by the Democratic party to put fake Tea Party candidates on the ballots. We just need to ditch this whole idea of parties >:[

  6. says

    @criticaldragon – the issue I see is that they realize that the standard of badness they’re working from is one that not everyone recognizes.

    In their minds, supporting homosexuality leads to more people going to hell, which is a bad thing to this group.

    However, the realize that a lot of people aren’t going to find that argument convincing.

    So to protect people from hell, they are resorting to the desperate whatever works strategy.

    The honest ones, anyway. Those that honestly believe this position. I do not doubt that there is some faction who are just bigoted.

  7. Michael Heath says

    When Michigan passed a law banning gay marriage in 2004 the language of the bill was confusing. I know two people close to me who wanted to vote for gay rights who inadvertently did the opposite because they got confused. I don’t recall whether there was evidence the confusing language was purposeful or not.

    I do recall the 2004 anti-gay marriage referendums at the state level was the #1 strategic plank the national GOP was leveraging to get out the conservative Christian (read bigot) vote that year. #2 IIRC was winning “security moms” over. And the GOP’s use of bigotry to get out the conservative Christian vote worked so well, notably in Ohio, that it was arguably the single most important factor that caused the re-election of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

  8. khms says

    @trucreep:

    We just need to ditch this whole idea of parties >:[

    I seem to recall that that idea (by the founders) is what landed you in that mess in the first place.

    If you look at nations which handle these things better, I expect what you’ll instead see is that they regulate their parties.

    Especially useful is regulating campaign contributions.

    Oh, and something better than plurality (first-past-the post) for voting. That is pretty much optimal for preventing third parties.

  9. Artor says

    When I was a teenager growing up in Idaho, I remember a big “Right to work,” campaign going on. At the time, I didn’t understand the issues enough to have an opinion, but I did notice that the anti-union side was lying it’s ass off and making all sorts of spurious arguments. That pretty much solved the problem for me.

  10. Trebuchet says

    @Johnny Vector:

    It’s obvious but worth noting that attempting to reverse people’s votes only works if you know you’re going to lose by a landslide.

    Not necessarily. This report comes from Seattle, which I’d say probably has the highest concentrations of liberals and LGBT people in the state. If you target the lying calls on areas you know favor the initiative, you can have some effect. Conservative folks east of the mountains are not getting these calls.

  11. Johnny Vector says

    Trebuchet: Probably true, point taken. Course Seattle also has the highest concentration of people in the state, so we can hope the bad guys really are losing.

  12. says

    (and maybe for Democrats and liberals too, but I can’t remember ever seeing a report of it being done by anyone other than the right; if you know of any examples, let me know)

    Liberals are always trying to pull a fast one. For instance, they say that destroying my sacred marriage and giving it to some homogaymanqueers somehow strengthens marriage.

  13. mithrandir says

    chrisj: Because of the First Amendment, and the extent to which it’s internalized in our political culture. We’ve got a long tradition of being extremely wary of letting the courts suppress expression just because they decide it is “untrue”. The only exception we’ve got right now, IIRC, is defamation, and even then (a) it only applies to actual people, and (b) it’s extremely hard to win a defamation suit in the US.

    The most obvious route to the sort of restriction you suggest would be to apply the concept of “defamation” to organizations and concepts instead of people. However, a statewide initiative would still be the conceptual equivalent of a “public figure”, which means that under existing defamation law you would have to prove actual malice. (In this case, I think it’d be very much possible to prove that, but still not easy.)

  14. tfkreference says

    @laurentweppe: that’s the guiding philosophy of the Catholic church (though in not so different words).

  15. Ichthyic says

    How did the republican party get so conspicuously openly evil…

    they didn’t. they simply utilized authoritarians as a power base, and this is the end result.

    rationalization for lying is just the tiny tip of the iceberg.

  16. Ichthyic says

    “But the poor sheeple are so stoooooopid they need to be lied to by their intellectual betters so they don’t inavertly hurt themselves with their own stupidity“?

    I do believe that’s a part of why the US was designed as a republic-democracy instead of a pure democracy. Not the lying part, but the rest of it anyway.

    there were good arguments for it at the time.

    hell, there still are.

  17. Ichthyic says

    … I’m happy to make even YOUR argument, as phrased, when speaking of the 30% (average) of the population that are entrenched authoritarian personalities.

    rational, evidentiary, discourse does little to sway the mindset of authoritarians. Lies have been told to them for decades to manipulate them as a grassroots power base for the right. these lies for the most part are actually detrimental to their personal best interests! Frankly, it actually will take MORE lies, but in a direction more compatible with their best interests, before they start moving in a different direction.

    so, no, in essence it’s not as shitty an argument as you think, but it does have very specific application.

  18. spamamander, internet amphibian says

    @11

    I hadn’t considered that angle- I (thankfully) have not been on the receiving end of one of these robocalls. I guess being here in Yakmanistan puts me in the “already likely to vote bigot” category. I know I made sure to tell my folks about the need for a yes vote, since before the antis had attempted an initiative which would have meant we need to vote no.

    I’m trying to think positive, we managed to pass the Death With Dignity bill, so there’s a hopeful chance we can get this passed, and to a lesser degree of importance the pot legalization initiative. Thank Dog the Puget Sound outnumbers us over here in redneck country.

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