Updated Yes on 8 Plans and Personnel

Jennifer Kerns has stepped down from the Yes on 8 effort in order to devote more time to her blog.

Please note contact details for the campaign's new spokeswoman below:

Sonja Eddings Brown
Deputy Communications Director
Protect Marriage
Tel: 818-723-9446
Mobile: 916-446-2956
Email: sonja@protectmarriage.com

Sonja's husband, Lowell Brown, is also involved in the campaign as an Area Director in charge of organizing the LDS (Mormon) Yes on 8 ground game.

Sonja Eddings Brown and Lowell Brown
The Yes on 8 campaign's Mormon Power Couple

To their credit, no matter how busy they might be in their professional lives or with the Yes on 8 campaign, they both still manage to find time to blog.

Lowell is the chief spiny mammal over at The Hedgehog Blog, and Sonja is a regular contributor over at the Article VI Blog.

In fact, it was Sonja's interview of Cecil “Chip” Murray (posted over at Article VI) that first got me interested in learning more about Dr. Murray:
A6 (Sonja Eddings Brown): As a respected long-time member of the Christian ministry, how do you feel we are doing as a country when it comes to the actual separation of Church and State?

Reverend Murray: I think the separation of Church and State is a basic policy that we simply must follow. Not to follow that separation, that line in the sand separating church and state is to flirt with danger. Now of course when you separate church and state that doesn’t mean that you weed religion out of those who are in politics, not that you weed politics out of those in religion, but you can’t customize it, you can’t structure it, so that you have the bully pulpit dictating to Congress. You can’t give God a stick and you be God’s agent and you are whipping people into line in your religious context.

You have your religion, your religion is personal. And even though religion is personal but never private, it cannot be public to the extent that it’s “my way or the highway.”

It isn’t American and it isn’t sensible to make the bully pulpit the bully. The bully pulpit at best deals with conscience and conscientiousness. Not consensus and not control. People have the right to believe as they believe. The Pure Charity Trust says that 87% of Americans believe in God but now when we look at how these Americans look at God, you have the Abrahamic faiths. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. You have the faith that comes out of the Mormon Church, you have Bhuddist and Daoist. These people have the right to their individual beliefs, but no one has the right to a collective belief that sweeps and demands and says you believe as we believe ... or you get hurt.

Sadly, I've not been able to find the video for the above portion of Sonja's interview.

However, I did manage to find the contact info for all the folks running the ground game for Lowell.

Once I'd compiled that information, I fired off the following email to the entire group of Yes on 8 volunteers under Lowell's command:
Subject: Please avoid using falsehoods to achieve a political victory

Some of you may have already enjoyed the opportunity to read the attached commentary from a BYU law professor.

For those who have not, I sincerely ask that you please take a few minutes to read and consider his remarks.

For those who’ve already read the attached, perhaps you could spare another moment to read this recent editorial from the Contra Costa Times (09/30/2008):

"ADVOCATES OF Proposition 8 claim it is simply a marriage protection measure that does not discriminate against gays. They argue that it would not diminish domestic partner rights but only reinstate a statutory initiative passed by 61 percent of the voters in 2000.

However, that is hardly the case. Prop. 8 is a constitutional amendment that would reverse a decision earlier this year by the California Supreme Court. Prop. 8, like the 2000 measure, states that "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

That is a clear discrimination against homosexuals. Domestic partnerships and marriage aren't the same. If they were, there would be no issue and no motivation for promoting a constitutional amendment that actually delineates the difference.

Only marriage guarantees the certainty that couples count on in times of greatest need such as in making life-and-death decisions, with no questions asked. Marriage also confers a special social status upon couples that legal partnerships do not.

To its credit, the state's highest court understood that there is a real difference between a domestic partnership and a marriage. That is why it ruled that to deny one group of people the right to marry is discriminatory and thus a violation of the equal protection clause of the California Constitution.

The court did not create a new right for anyone. Instead it logically expanded the scope of a basic right to accommodate the social changes regarding homosexual relations.

Few Californians, including supporters of Prop. 8, would seek to outlaw gay partnerships or keep gays from teaching or charge them with a crime. Yet in the not so distant past, such discrimination was the norm in much of the nation.

Fortunately, there has been considerable progress over the past few decades in eliminating bias against sexual orientation. Removing the ban on marriage was an important step in that direction.

Prop. 8 would negate that progress, perhaps for many years, by adopting a needless exception to the basic constitutionally protected right of equal protection under the law.

Regardless of how one feels about homosexual relationships or one's personal religious views, it would be a grave mistake to pass an initiative that reduces liberty by returning gay couples to second-class status.

We strongly urge voters to carefully consider the harm Prop. 8 would do not just to gays, but to all Californians, and reject the initiative."


Attachment: A Commentary on the Document “Six Consequences . . . if Proposition 8 Fails” (PDF)

Here is a sampling of the responses that came back from these Yes on 8 volunteers:
Please don't send me any more emails. Thank you.
Let's be honest, opponents of Prop 8 want one thing....to force religion to change and accept gay marriage or to shut them down.
I don’t know where you obtained my email address but would greatly appreciate it if you would NOT contact me ever again!
I don’t care what your political values are! You don’t need to share them with me! I could care less what your thoughts are and it is very presumptuous of you to think I care anything about what you think!!!!
And from Lowell Brown himself:
Please stop. Thank you.
To the Yes on 8 activist who was upset that I'd obtained her email address, I would like to point out that your contact info was made public by someone on your own team: here, here, and here.

All I've done is to compile it all here.

And in response to Lowell Brown's request to "please stop" ... the best I can muster is a clip from the greatest sci-fi flick ever made:

And just in case this reference might be too arcane for the Yes on 8 crowd, what I'm suggesting here is that we No on 8 folks are the guy holding the screwdriver ... not because we want to be holding that screwdriver, but because there's obviously been a serious system malfunction once a machine that we built has arrived at the conclusion that the mission objective takes precedence over any one of our lives.

In terms of the present malfunction (i.e., the lopsided support for Prop 8 among California Mormons), this comment over at Mormonsfor8.com struck me as a useful insight for those of us interested in evaluating this latest version of the LDS anti-gay program:
When Knights of Columbus or Focus On The Family makes a large
donation, one recognizes these names and one knows immediately what
they stand for. Ten years ago, the LDS Church suffered some bad
publicity when they gave 500K (out of 600K raised total) to an Alaskan
effort to pass a same sex marriage ban.

That's right, an out of state church organization gave 83% of the
funds to promote a ballot measure in Alaska. While legal, the donation
gave many the impression that an out of state religious entity was
trying to manipulate an election in Alaska.

Having learned this lesson in Alaska, in 2002 the LDS Church asked
members to donate individually. The result was that few people
realized the extent of LDS Church involvement in arm twisting those
donations out of the members.

Since most of the LDS donors are not celebrities, few people outside
their stake would realize the extent of the church's involvement. As a
California voter, I reserve the right to know the source of all
funding for state ballot measures and candidates. And when ten million
dollars comes from one particular source, yes the voters have a right
to know before they choose.
For some reason, this comment seems important. That said, I'm admittedly interested in understanding the extent to which Mormon efforts to pass Prop 8 are tactically distinct from those of other groups in the Yes on 8 coalition. To the extent that I'm probably one of only half a dozen folks on the planet who could give a damn about fleshing out such a point, I'll leave it at that for now.

So, moving on to the data dump, here's what the Mormons have planned for The Golden State:

. . . Org Chart . . .

. . . Job Descriptions . . .

Phoners . . .

Walkers . . .

Schedulers . . .

Emailers . . .

Networkers . . .

Monitors . . .

Registrars . . .

Distributors . . .

. . . Timeline . . .

. . . Step 1 . . .

. . . Step 2 . . .

. . . Step 3 . . .

. . . Talking Points . . .

Sorry about all the scrolling involved in reading this diary. It was supposed to be all about Sonja Eddings Brown, the new (Mormon) spokeswoman for Yes on 8, and I probably could've done a better job maintaining the focus on her and her new role in the campaign.

That said, where I have managed to discuss Sonja's new role in the campaign, I hope the commentary has not given the impression that I have any desire to demonize her personally. Depending on the issue, she's proven herself capable of delivering the kind of cogent analysis that would otherwise make me a fan, e.g., in Sonja's own words:
Several dozen judges have now reviewed the Schiavo case and have ruled in favor of the rights of her husband as principal guardian. Whether we side with her husband or not, we must not fail to recognize his rights and more importantly his responsibilities under the law. In the future, the government should act to spare families, friends, medical professionals and other caregivers from vague customary practices and place the responsibility for life or death decisions on the individual and his or her trusted representative.
Amen, Sonja. We're all born into families of one sort or another, but we all choose our trusted representatives, and that's a choice that we both agree needs to be respected.

And now, just for fun, a few bars from my favorite Sonja Eddings Brown tune to accompany this link to my favorite Sonja Eddings Brown story:

And I'm so glad to have found this story from a Granada Hills Charter High School graduate.

P.S. If you do decide to contact the Zip Code Supervisors whose email addresses I've posted online here, please do make an effort to be civil. All we need to bring is the truth, let them worry about bringing the hate. OK?

Bonus feature:

Milk. Screenplay by fellow Mormon Dustin Lance Black:

No matter how hard you try.


Tom said...

Dude - You're my hero!

Great stuff.

Natalie said...

Hey Chino,
Just thought you'd be interested in seeing the email I just sent to several of those people on your lovely contact list above:

To the men and women who are leading California's Yes on 8 Campaign:

I do not live in California, and so will not vote on Proposition 8. However, my concern for the issue, my deep love of the LDS Church, and the serious consequences of this campaign for my gay brothers and sisters in the Gospel compels me to write this message. I am firmly against the Proposition, and ask only that you realize the potential pain you are inflicting on individuals.

You may see some higher cause in your actions... but is the end worth the means? Is the protection of your personal definition of marriage worth the depression, trauma, loneliness, deprivation, and ostracization of so many others?

I am pained that members of my church are behind this. My church, which proclaims " that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul" (D&C 134:14), and that "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege" (Article of Faith, 11). My church, which suffered so poignantly for its own right to define marriage according to its beliefs and conscience. My church, which has always taught me that family is the most important thing on earth, and that we should love our fellow men at all times.

Please, consider the devastating consequences of your actions. They affect real people, with real families. Who can blame them for feeling hated and friendless in a society such as the one you wish to foster?


Thanks for the info.

Tom said...

Beautifully stated, Natalie. Now I have ANOTHER hero! Forward that to all your California LDS friends. Put it on as many Mormon blogs as you can.

Chino Blanco said...

Natalie: Nice to see someone taking advantage of the privilege we still allow ourselves in this country of sharing views with those who disagree with us.

Tom: It's becoming an increasingly daunting task at this point to comment at all the Mormon blogs ... there was a lull for a while there but now they're popping up left and right with their xeroxed sentiments. Good on you and anyone else who's willing to help confront this onslaught.

Unknown said...

Just noticed this - but Morris Thurston is NOT listed as faculty at BYU law school.


I could find no record of his work at BYU law anywhere. We don't want falsehoods getting out there.

Tom said...

Does someone want to contact the BYU Law School and/or Thurston himself to see if we can find the truth?

Chino Blanco said...

Oh no, wouldn't want falsehoods getting out there, now would we?

I'll try to find the link, but I've read comments from Thurston addressing this: He's an adjunct professor ... the kind that flies in, teaches a class and then flies home, and he's got BYU law school pay stubs to prove it.

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