Saturday, November 15, 2008

HOLLYWOOD & GAY MARRIAGE

***UPDATE***

As a friend/commenter posted in the comment section of my "Mickey Rourke and Lindsay Lohan" post, there are a lot of homosexuals working in Hollywood. Powerful ones too (see David Geffen). So it was inevitable that a powerful post-Prop 8 wind was going to blow through Tinseltown.

Recently, a couple of Hollywood industry people were "outed", you could say, for being supporters of Prop 8. The CEO of Cinemark was a "yes on Prop 8" supporter, and so was the director of the Los Angeles Film Festival. (UPDATE: The California Musical Theater's artistic director just resigned due to boycott pressure following his Prop 8 donations).

Before getting to some thoughts of my own, below is MCN blogger Dave Poland's post on the Rich Raddon (the festival director of LAFF) situation:

---
Prop 8 Battle Hits Hollywood's Indie Community At Home

The buzz story of the day is not going to go anywhere pretty...

The Festival Director of FIND's LA Film Festival, Rich Raddon, came up on a “Yes On 8” donation list this morning. $1500.

Rich is a well-liked guy. He is not secretive about being a Mormon. And he could end up losing his job over this.

FIND's position is that no one can be fired from a job over their religious beliefs. So Rich is still employed.

And I must say, positions amongst FIND insiders are widely varied. The phrase "witch hunt" has been used... as has "I can't see ever sitting down at a meeting table with him again."

And so… the question is now one that a lot of people in the Los Angeles indie community must answer directly… how do we all – gay, straight, and otherwise – feel about seriously damaging careers of people just because we disagree with them politically? How far into people's beliefs will we go before we decide that we must respect the rights of everyone, not just those we agree with? And if you are a hard-liner on Prop 8, how can you forgive?

These are the times that try people's souls... and as cynical and gamey as Hollywood is, these questions are being pondered with passion and sincerity all over town.
---


Since that post, Raddon has resigned. However, FIND then denied his resignation. At this moment nothing else is known about Raddon's future. Here is his profile over at their website.

Now, first of all, I should disclose that I am for gay marriage. I am also for the freedom of personal, religious, and political beliefs. You may dislike Raddon for his beliefs, but to want him fired because of them is disgusting. Protest? sure. Boycott? go for it. Firing someone over a political disagreement? that's illegal.

In the comment section to Poland's post (click on the link up top to see the comments) there were quite a few people who supported the idea of Raddon being forced out because he was a "Yes on Prop 8" supporter.

Here's the first comment from that post:

---
"If they found out the guy was a member of the KKK would that be grounds not to want to sit at a table, let alone work with him? Prejudice might be a right, but discrimination certainly isn't. And that's where the respect ends and action (including boycotts and "witch hunts") begin."
---

A few thoughts on that comment:

1. I think some advocates of gay marriage do the cause a disservice when comparing it to our nation's long history of discrimination against blacks. Gay people have not suffered under anything resembling a Jim Crow type of oppression, and to suggest otherwise could very well create greater push back against the cause.

2. It bothers me how easily this commenter supports "witch hunts" simply because somebody disagrees with him. Does he not see that as being exactly what he is railing against?

3. Lastly, and though the commenter does not mention this, advocates of gay marriage should not frame their arguments along conservative/liberal or Republican/Democrat lines. 60.9 % of Californians voted for Obama, while 37.3% voted for John McCain. 52% of Californians voted for Prop 8. That means that a significant number of Democrats voted for Prop 8.

I'm not a legal scholar, but since California's supreme court previously ruled that denying marriage licenses to gays was unconstitutional, I imagine that will happen again in the future. I realize that "in the future" isn't very comforting for people who love each other and want to be married now, but I firmly believe it's only a matter of time before gay marriage is widely accepted. It's a generational thing (voting statistics support that).

This is also probably of little comfort, but "yes" voters (ie anti-gay marriage voters) dropped 9% from 2000 to 2008, leaving only a 4% margin between pro- and anti- voters. This is good news, and it's great to see a rising up of peaceful activism among gay marriage supporters. However, these supporters - which I think are in the majority - should push back on the "witch hunt" faction of the movement whose violent and radical tendencies will do nothing towards getting that 4% margin into the negative.

to be continued...

---

**UPDATE

So I guess there is a blacklist afterall. It's not exclusive to Hollywood, but it does exist.

Of course, whoever set this up is entitled to do so, but it is a "witch hunt". Voting yes on Prop-8 doesn't necessarily make you "anti-gay" nor mean that you "hate" gay people. Again, I think that type of quick branding could ultimately be counterproductive for the pro-gay marriage movement.

17 comments:

Marilyn said...

I agree that forcing someone out of a job because of their political actions is wrong; it would be wrong to force someone who opposed Prop 8 out of a company because the majority supports it and decided to make life rough for that person. This is the same kind of thing the ACLU is faced with day in and day out - defending the right of everyone, even American neo-Nazis, to speak and act on their beliefs in a public forum.

As someone who doesn't live in California, I find all these propositions interesting. The state has more or less given up on representative government and decided to go for direct democracy as more and more propositions are added to ballots. On the whole (Prop 8 aside), do you think this has been a good or a bad thing for California?

Ed Howard said...

Looking at the coverage of Prop 8 from afar, I would say this proves to me the ineffectiveness of ballot initiatives as a method of passing legislation. It proved very easy for a powerful organization with some money behind it to spread a lot of hate and outright lies in order to get people voting against civil rights. Californians weren't voting against gay marriage, they were voting against the exaggerated state of fear the Mormon Church was spreading in its ads.

I think it's a shame if anyone is forced out of their job for supporting Prop 8, though. Of course, no one can be fired outright for it (that would be illegal, as you say), but it's a different thing if a threatened boycott makes it economically unfeasible for a Prop 8 supporter to stay, something I could certainly see happening in a lot of creatively-focused organizations.

Ed Howard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fox said...

On the whole (Prop 8 aside), do you think this has been a good or a bad thing for California?

That's a really good question that I don't think I can answer right now. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that every party involved has acted democratically correct.

In 2000 was the first propostion which Californians supported by 61%, the state legislators then canceled that out by legalizing gay marriage in a bill that Schwarrezager later vetoed b/c he felt the people's vote and the courts should resolve the issue. When the supreme court "resolved" the issue last year it seemed over. Which leads us to Prop 8, which is were I get confused...

I certainly like the idea of public-driven propostions as well as the idea of a representative democracy. I think both have their place. Where my confusion starts is that if the state supreme court ruled something unconstitional, then how can a similar proposition end up on the ballot again?

There's a lot of citizen's rights, city govt., and state govt. minutiae in this whole thing that I just can't sort out.

Ed-

Very true on the boycotting. And I think a company would be well within their rights to fire someone if they could prove that that person was damaging their business b/c of a boycott.

Or, if say Mr. Raddon had brought his Prop 8 stance into the office and started causing friction in the work place which they could then argue did damage to the company/organization.

But where this gets dicey is that Mr. Raddon was private about his beliefs and did not let them effect his job. A third party "outed" him, and to fire someone on those grounds would clearly be wrong.

Which then takes me into the ethics and legality of making a private citizen's political contributions public knowledge. I would think something like that would be protected. But I don't know.

Good conversation, and good thoughts y'all. These type of things help me sort out questions that I had put off addressing.

Megan said...

Hi Fox - Prop 8 is a constitutional amendment. They are trying to go over the court's head by making "marriage is defined as between man and woman only" part of the state's constitution.

Marilyn said...

It seems to me that a simple majority should not be allowed to make a change in a state's constitution. This seems entirely wrong when considering such difficult issues as civil rights and "moral" issues. I'd take this to the U.S. Supreme Court myself.

Megan said...

@ Marilyn - That's what I'm hoping!

Fox said...

Thanks Megan.

Though I am not happy with the results of this particular proposition, I do sympathize with the public's desire to be a part of the democratic process. I think many have become so disillusioned with our representatives and senators.

I'm out of my area here, but you'd think there would be another check on a proposition to change a state's constitution (as Marilyn said it seems a little too easy, especially for only a voter margin of 4%). Maybe require 2/3 of the popular? I don't know. Or perhaps a governor's veto? I know that Schwarzzenager (sp? I can never spell his name...) has been outspoken in his displeasure with Prop 8 since it already went through the cycle of the people and the courts.

Sometimes I wish I had a lawyer in my pocket that I could ask these questions to whenever I want.

Anyways. Thanks ladies!

Michael Ejercito said...


I'm not a legal scholar, but since California's supreme court previously ruled that denying marriage licenses to gays was unconstitutional, I imagine that will happen again in the future. I realize that "in the future" isn't very comforting for people who love each other and want to be married now, but I firmly believe it's only a matter of time before gay marriage is widely accepted. It's a generational thing (voting statistics support that).

That decision was made before the state's constitution was amended to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Where my confusion starts is that if the state supreme court ruled something unconstitional, then how can a similar proposition end up on the ballot again?
The similar proposition was a state constitutional amendment.
I'm out of my area here, but you'd think there would be another check on a proposition to change a state's constitution (as Marilyn said it seems a little too easy, especially for only a voter margin of 4%). Maybe require 2/3 of the popular? I don't know. Or perhaps a governor's veto? I know that Schwarzzenager (sp? I can never spell his name...) has been outspoken in his displeasure with Prop 8 since it already went through the cycle of the people and the courts.
To change that would require a constitutional revision or a state constitutional convention.

Fox said...

Michael-

Thanks for commenting, but I'm still confused about your first two claifications.

You said - and let me know if I'm getting this wrong - that the state supreme court's decision was before the ammendment to the constitution (I presume you mean Prop 8, yes?), but wasn't Prop 22 in 2000 ammending the constitution to ban gay marriage? If so, I thought the supreme court decision was finding that ammendment (the one from Prop 22) unconstitutional.

If I have all of that right, then it seems like we're going in circles, correct? Isn't it likely that the state supreme court will find the new ammendment unconstutional as well?

Again, I get woozy with the ins-and-outs of this stuff, so forgive me if I am missing something.

Ed Howard said...

Fox - a constitutional amendment cannot be declared unconstitutional. If it passes, which this one did, then it becomes a part of the constitution, and the only way it can be retracted is by another constitutional amendment. Pro-gay marriage groups in CA are now mounting legal challenges to Prop 8 based on the assertion that these kinds of revisions should not be allowed as ballot measures, and the courts may decide to overturn it if there is any legal merit to that case, but they can't just declare it unconstitutional.

Prop 22 was not a constitional amendment, but only revised CA's civil code, which is why it could be struck down by the courts on constitutional grounds.

Fox said...

Ahhhh.... thanks Ed!!

Look at all this teamwork y'all!

Fox said...

BTW... UH OH! ... this should cause some waves.

Michael Ejercito said...

You said - and let me know if I'm getting this wrong - that the state supreme court's decision was before the ammendment to the constitution (I presume you mean Prop 8, yes?), but wasn't Prop 22 in 2000 ammending the constitution to ban gay marriage
Prop 22 was an initiative statute .

Prop 8 was an initiative constitutional amendment .

Fox said...

Thanks Michael.

Rick Olson said...

Of course, whoever set this up is entitled to do so, but it is a "witch hunt".

It's certainly a black list, because that's what it calls itself. But how is listing folks and their donations a "witch hunt?"

The web site asks for a boycott ... Boycotts are a time-honored way of bringing political pressure to bear. Often, they are the only things that make corporate America sit up and take notice. Not every political action where names are named is a "witch hunt."

Fox said...

Hey Rick-

You make a fair distinction between boycotts and witch hunts, but where I disagree with the tactics of the anti-gayblacklist is that they label the members on the list as "anti-gay" and/or being a party to "hate". At that point I think they go beyond just a boycott.

Now, I realize some people may think that voting Yes on Prop 8 is anti-gay or hateful, but I don't think it's so cut and dry. In that way, I think it's a "witch hunt" b/c they are branding these people with pretty dispicable charges without giving them a chance to explain themselves.