Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thank you Prop 8 supporters

I just wanted to reiterate my support for Proposition 8 and thank the people and powerful organizations who have donated time, money and reputation to the messy cause. I also wanted to restate my main reason for supporting the Constitutional amendment: Parental rights.

While I may believe in the sacredness of marriage, traditional values, the superiority of two different gendered parent households and everything associated with the moral and religious argument, I am thoroughly convinced that if we want to make a convincing argument to people who are not sure about what they believe, then we have to articulate our argument from a starting point on which both sides fundamentally agree: rights. Not just morality. Both sides do not agree, obviously, that homosexuality is morally wrong. So we need to go farther than just reasserting over and over again that it is God's will that traditional marriage remain between man and woman; we cannot convince people who do not necessarily believe so that gay marriage would be bad for society- precisely in a tense and tight fight where undecided people are the votes we need to pass this amendment.

The NO side has figured out this tactic of starting from a premise with which the YES side already fundamentally agrees. They have adopted a "family values" argument, attempting to appeal to people like us who care about family and children with this commercial. So, unfortunately, in like manner, our side has got to start convincing people who operate from the criterion value of "personal rights" and "Constitutional authority" rather than strictly "morality" and "traditional values." We have got to start operating more efficiently because this argument is far deeper, and far more complex than a strictly moral argument can handle.

Pepperdine University recently put out a commercial in support of Proposition 8. They have had a wave of hate mail for doing so. I was encouraged by a fellow ward member to send them a thank you to help diffuse the hatred. I am making it public here:

Dear friends of Prop 8,

I am certain that you have been more than inundated with hate mail which accuses you of the grossest prejudicial atrocities; the thank yous may be few and far between for work on the commercial you supported. Whether people are religiously opposed to gay marriage, or just understand the implications of its legalization for the rights of parents and churches, we need more help from powerful organizations, like yours, who are willing to put their reputations on the line for a very difficult and complicated fight. And in the midst of the backlash, I presume that even you yourselves may question your endorsement of the commercial for Proposition 8 in which Richard Peterson appeared.

So I just want to iterate mine and my husband's gratitude for that decision. We have been actively involved in the campaign for Proposition 8, knocking on doors, blogging and making phone calls to help people understand what the issue is really about: Parental rights. Not gay rights. The rights of homosexuals are such a non issue in this campaign, as the recognition of a homosexual "marriage" awards no other right that a domestic partnership does not . What it does do, however, is force churches and parents to equate homosexual companionships with hetero ones, or face the loss of tax subsidies and parental control over what children are taught in public schools about homosexuality.

So thank you for your support, especially being part of the legal community; there are not enough members therein who have not been tainted by the gay community's hijacking of the civil rights argument. Thank you, thank you. I recognize that it may have and continue to cost you dearly.

Ashely, Adam and Eli Burr


Michelle Tolboe said...

good, good. Bravo.
I'm so glad that there will be something exciting and interesting on the ballots this November! You're vote will count and that's exciting.

Cole said...

Ashley, (Burrs) good for you guys!

Normally pictures trump words when I "read" blogs but I've recently been looking for more info on this particular subject... Do you know of any good sites that lay it out with as little bias as possible?

Am I to assume that because you've posted this letter online that it can be used for the same purpose but for those that would rather not take the time to write it?

Kevin said...

I think it's too easy to choose a few selective statistics (when there are many others that point in differing directions) to use and pretend you are supporting Prop 8 in order to protect children. You're using some loose excuses to perpetuate homophobia, while pretending that is not the reason you are doing so. Rather than covering up your discomfort, why not confront it? What really makes you uneasy about gay marriage? And is your discomfort really worth depriving others of personal freedoms?

And why sign the letter on behalf of your baby? You talk about about the gay community "hijacking" the discussion (which I think shows your bias), and then form an opinion on behalf of your child who is far too young to have an opinion on this issue. Who is hijacking here? If we start restricting who is allowed to be married, Eli may one day fall victim to discrimination, too. Hopefully our decisions today don't prevent young people like Eli from making his own personal decisions in the future.

lauren said...

oh goodness kevin, you obviously don't understand what she's saying at all. her argument (as well as mine and other people) is that the allowance of gay marriage will impinge upon her ability to parent in the way that she chooses. it will redefine the centuries old definition of marriage, which is a religious institution. she has never opposed equal rights for gay couples under the law (and is definitely not homophobic), just the labeling of said rights as marriage. because the amalgamation of church and state is never a prudent idea. nor is it constitutional.

ash: i hope i have represented some of your stances correctly in my above statement. if i haven't completely grasped it, i apologize, but i love that you have become so involved in this cause and have acted in a way that will hopefully affect change.

and the dress is for greg's sister's wedding. she doesn't want bridesmaids, yet wants me to dress in that color. and since my husband is actually a groomsman, i have to look somewhat presentable.

Kevin said...


Your argument is that same sex marriage will take away the rights of parents. Why do you hold that above the right for freedom and personal choice for all people? I'm not even sure why it would change the way someone in a heterosexual marriage parents. There are a million things our society condones that make parenting more difficult than if the same sex partners down the street (who supposedly already had equal rights) now can officially declare themselves married.

I agree with the distinction between church and state. By voting no on 8, you are saying that the government has no right to define marriage, not the church. The church may continue to definite marriage as they see fit.

And I find it particularly amusing/aggravating that you then go on to conduct a side note on a friend's wedding. How fortunate that this friend has your approval to marry as she sees fit.

lauren said...


in order to understand the breadth of my position, you should read this statement that was put out by my church. (it can be found here

i will use an excerpt that ash also cited in an earlier post to refute your assertion that voting no on proposition 8 is in fact keeping church and state separate:

"Legalizing same-sex marriage will affect a wide spectrum of government activities and policies. Once a state government declares that same-sex unions are a civil right, those governments almost certainly will enforce a wide variety of other policies intended to ensure that there is no discrimination against same-sex couples. This may well place church and state on a collision course..."

i do not hate gay people. in fact, i am friends with many gay people and we have a great relationship with each other. they know how i feel about this issue and i know how they feel, and we can still respect each other and our opinions and yes, be friends.

but i have a feeling that regardless of what i, or anyone else who feels similar, say or have said, you have made up your mind to oppose my stance. and since you have made up your mind, why try to derail those who have also made up their minds and feel just as strongly as you do on the subject?

i'll defer any further arguments or points to ash, who has truly educated herself on this issue and whose knowledge and understanding of the subject far exceeds my own. and she's by far a better and more concise and cohesive debater than i am.

Ashley said...

Cole- Sure. You can use my letter if you like. Here are two websites:

Ashley said...

Thank you Kevin and Lauren for that jovial exchange. I am drafting a response comment, but it might take me a few hours before I can post it.

Elisa said...

I now know where to come if I need a little drama and excitement in my life! Way to stir the pot again Ash! Who are all these random people that are getting their panties in a bunch? I'm glad you are being heard! Keep it up and good luck. Give Eli a squish for us.

Cason and Marie said...

You are good!! By the way how to fix your ants...I just heard of a new product that kills ants. You can either pay a ton of money and have your house sprayed, or there are these trap things called Terro. I've never tried them, but a doctor I work for swears by them! Try them out, tell me how they work!

Ashley said...

I would be frankly shocked if you read what I wrote. You sure responded to a lot of arguments that I did not make, only furthering my perceptions of gay rights activists: any supporter when he meets an antagonist immediately defaults to accusations of homophobia and narrow mindedness, as if the tense emotions and hotly contested debates surrounding this issue are no indication of a good, valid argument on each side.
First of all, I did not cite any statistics, precisely for the reason you mentioned. In a controversial argument, those that are legitimate can be bent and twisted to mean a variety of things. And for every false stat that supports one side, there is an equally false set of data for the other side. Furthermore, my argument was not that gay marriage hurts children; my argument is that it hurts me, my rights as a parent, and the rights of churches to maintain a religious stance against homosexuality. I am not na├»ve enough to pretend that gay people aren’t raising children they already have, adopting children into stable coupleships or the like. Probably many of them raise children a whole lot better than straight couples-the safety and well being of children was not the crux of my argument.
I make no effort to conceal the fact that I think homosexuality is morally wrong. But that is also not the issue, as you assert. I understand the Constitution well enough to understand that the rights of minorities and individuals are guaranteed protection; I agree with that inspired wisdom and THAT is the crux of my argument, those personal freedoms which you assert I am comfortable stripping away.
There are no personal freedoms denied to homosexual couples who want to enter into a domestic partnership; every single right guaranteed to a married couple is also granted to those in a civil union. This proposition takes away no tangible right; it simply makes the very real distinction between a traditional marriage and a homosexual union. I dare you to argue that there are zero fundamental differences between the two.
If you continue to assert that a right is being taken away by passing this proposition, then the Constitution has an answer as well: The rights of individuals and minorities end where they begin to infringe upon the rights of the majority. The Constitution has supported that notion for hundreds of years now. You know damn well as I do that the ACLU is just wringing it’s fingers, waiting patiently for this proposition to blow over and fail before they unleash a string of civil lawsuits against churches, schools and organizations who wish not to condone homosexual marriage. In Massachusetts, parents have already been denied the right to be informed about what their children are being taught about homosexuality, learning about it only when their kids are sent home with a packet of materials with which the parents are uncomfortable. Likewise, religious adoption agencies who wished not to adopt out to homosexual couples were stripped of their government tax breaks and forced to close their doors. I understand you are not a religious person; but you ought to be able to recognize that churches do a lot of good in spite of “evil done in religion’s name.” Many churches and organizations cannot function financially without those tax breaks. If government mandates that they recognize and condone homosexual marriage, against their doctrinal policies, or lose those tax breaks for the good that they do, then whose rights are being taken away? Whose rights are being taken away if the government tells me that my child has to learn that homosexual marriage is exactly the same as traditional marriage in school? Is it not my right to teach my child how I see fit?
You also say it is inappropriate for me to sign my child’s name on a controversial letter with which he may not agree someday. Fine. Fair enough. You obviously don’t have children. They do a lot of stupid things. Part of your job as a parent is teaching them how to choose, how to decide and how to use the things they learn everyday to help them make intelligent and wise decisions. That is what I am doing. My child’s agency is incredibly precious to me, as is my own. When he is ready, he will have full command of his own decisions. And I will support him in whatever he chooses, even though I may not necessarily support his choices. So I apologize for signing his name without his consent. But he’s not ready to make decisions on his own. I am trying to help him learn.

Anonymous said...


If you want that marriage license so bad and really, honestly don't want any backlash on religious institutions, then email me and I'll send you a pretty little paper saying that you are married. There's nothing else that a married couple has that gay couples doesn't besides that. So that's what this fight is about right? Unless of course you really do want to take away the rights of churches which would do away with the separation of church and state. And if that's the case, you're doing a great job, soon enough we will all be attending the Church of the United States because it will be the only religious institution not being hammered by law suits. When that happens you will find me in a cute little bonnet at Plymouth Rock ready to sail to a new land in pursuit of religious freedom. If this fight persists, that's the only end I see. Afterall, history does repeat itself, just look at the economy.

Natty said...

I am so glad that you are blogging about the prop 8. I am here in Cali and its a huge huge deal. I definitly support prop 8

Anonymous said...

I am Ali's sister, and I just read your response to Kevin. EXCELLENT. What a well-written, thoughtful, right-on-the-money stance against gay marriage. Loved it! Keep up your writing. You are strongly convincing, and boy does this world need some convincing on this subject. (Or even some deep, ponderous thinking would suffice!)

The Linfords said...

hey this is jordan linford, suprise, suprise. I read your comment on Brandons blog and I just had to comment, I enjoy good political insight and opinion as you do. When I think of the bailout I think of the quote from FDR, "In politics nothing happens by accident. If it happens you can bet it was planned that way."
The financial crisis was no accident. It is was a tool to take more power away from us and give more power to the government. See its bigger than your job, your schooling, the food on your table, and your day to day things. It is your freedom we are talking about. The bailout takes away more of your freedom. If we let them take away enough of our freedom soon there will be none left and your job, schooling, and home will not matter at that point anyway, because they will no longer belong to you. Gary Allen said, "People have an infinite capacity for rationalization when it comes to refusing to face the threat to America's survival...Instead of getting mad at the insiders, these people actually get angry at these who are trying to save our country by exposing it's conspiritors." We have been bribed into carnal security and silence with our own tax monies!!!!! that is why the bailout is so bad. I'll take a depression anyday over loss of my freedom.

Kevin said...

Ashley -

I'd argue that the Constitution looks out for the rules of the minorities more than the majority. The colonists, having been subject to unfair treatment, were especially mindful of the fact that the majority or ruling power did not always make the best decisions for its constituents. In which part of the Constitution did you decide that "the rights of individuals and minorities end where they begin to infringe upon the rights of the majority"? That's a genuine question, by the way, and if you can cite me a part, you'd be much closer to convincing me of your side.

In California, the Supreme Court’s ruling specifically states that this decision cannot “impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official or any other person.” Backers of Proposition 8 like to cite examples from Massachusetts as proof that religious freedoms are lost. These comparisons are unfair because Massachusetts never made a stipulation about religion, whereas the California law clearly has a safeguard in place.

Taking the church's exclusionary definition of marriage and making it a governmental policy, thus applying it to people who do not practice that religion is the real violation of separation of church and state.

The biggest issue seems to be that people are terrified that gay marriage will lead to restrictions of religious freedom, although religious freedom is clearly protected by the Constitution. These two issues do not have to be at odds with one another. Permitting government sanctioned same-sex marriages does not and should not have effects on religious institutions. The purported fear by religious proponents of Prop 8 is that it puts them one step closer to having the government dictate their private policies. In effect, these people are promoting Prop 8 to preemptively prevent potential lawsuits and other related battles. Obviously, I can’t promise that these conflicts wouldn’t occur, but I would view that as a violation of the church’s rights as established by this country, and would imagine that most citizens would agree and fight to protect these rights. That said, it is wholly unfair to choose deprive a certain group of people of equal status in order to look out for one’s own self first instead. Ideally, we should grant the equality to same-sex couples now, and then, if circumstances necessitate, similarly fight for groups, religious and otherwise, who have their own rights challenged. We can find a way to both reject Prop 8 and still protect the rights of everyone.

As for the discussion of your child, I'm pleased with your explanation and understand your opinion on that. Obviously, parents have the right if not obligation to teach their children what is right and wrong, but it is comforting to know you will love him even if his choices counter your beliefs. I just initially thought it was absurd that you would sign the name of a child so young that he wouldn't know that Prop 8 or its subsequent battle was even occurring.

Anonymous -
Contrary to popular opinion, most people in opposition to Prop 8 don't even want to personally be in a homosexual marriage. I have no desire for that paper you've offered to send me. I do not see myself entering into a heterosexual marriage either, however, as I will not wish to support an institution that is intentionally exclusionary to my fellow citizens. Going back to my argument above, the separation of church and state is an important one that you think will be tossed aside. Given how religious the population of America is, do you really think this right would be taken away? In my opinion it would not/should not be allowed.