California Proposition 8 explicitly eliminates equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian Californians. It also overturns religious freedom for California religious institutions that affirm marriage for same-sex couples. Proposition 2 in Florida and Proposition 102 in Arizona do the same.

The ballot propositions impose on the states — and all their residents — the sectarian religious belief that homosexuality is immoral and that gays and lesbians are not entitled to be treated equally under the law.

But the religious-rightists who support these propositions can’t win popular support by telling voters the truth. So instead, Focus on the Family, Exodus, wealthy Mormon donors, and others have caved in to the immoral gutter instincts of dirty politics, illegal Internet attacks, and alleged election-law violations.

The L.A. Times editorial board today listed some of the deceptions of the lawless forces behind Proposition 8:

  • The Yes-on-8 organizations criticized a school for allowing first-graders to attend their teacher’s wedding — but failed to disclose that the teacher obtained parents’ permission. The Times points out, “The state Education Code does not allow schools to teach comprehensive sex education — which includes instruction about marriage — to children whose parents object.”
  • The Yes-on-8 organizations falsely stated that Massachusetts forced Catholic Charities to halt its adoption services. The Times explains that Catholic Charities acted as a state contractor, whereas the adoption arm of the Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) is a private service without public funding — therefore the LDS’ antigay adoption program continues, its religious beliefs and practices unhindered.
  • The Yes-on-8 organizations falsely stated that a New Jersey church lost its tax exemption over gay marriage. The activists failed to tell audiences that the Methodist nonprofit-owned seaside resort forfeited its boardwalk to the public in exchange for a special property-tax exemption — and that the resort broke its agreement when it denied access to the boardwalk by members of the tax-paying public who were gay or lesbian.

The Times points out that marriage has been changed continuously by members of the world’s major religions (including Christianity) over thousands of years. Fundamentalists are being selective — and unbiblical — in choosing which changes to allow and which ones to oppose.

As disturbing as these deceptions are, they only begin to reflect the illegal and immoral activities of the anti-marriage organizations political forces in recent weeks.

The Bilerico Project, for example, has uncovered evidence that donations to Florida’s anti-marriage ballot initiative have been illegally laundered.

Meanwhile, Calitics perceives an organized campaign of illegal Internet denial-of-service attacks against the California and Florida organizations that defend marriage and religious freedom for gay couples and supportive religious institutions.

Blogger Greta Christina finds the antigay activists violating parental rights and exploiting children:

The Yes on 8 campaign has a TV ad/video running (here’s the video, properly fisked), using footage from a 1st grade field trip to their teacher’s lesbian wedding… and using it without the parents’ permission. These parents are very much against Prop 8 — the field trip to the wedding was optional, and the parents happily gave permission for their kids to attend — and they’ve written letters and given a press conference, expressing their anger that their children are being used to support a cause they so vehemently oppose… and expressly refusing their permission for their children’s images to be used in this ad. Yes on 8 is ignoring the parents’ request, and is continuing to run the ads.

Christina also finds the antigay Yes-on-8 activists committing extortion against opponents: sent a certified letter to several business that donated money to No on 8, threatening to expose them as opponents of traditional marriage unless they made an equal donation to Yes on 8. The letter went not only to large businesses like Levi Strauss and AT&T; it went to small businesses as well. Just to be clear: They have a legal right to reveal those names. The identity of companies who donate to political campaigns is a matter of public record. But it is morally repugnant to link a threat of exposure with a request for money. The word for that is blackmail. And blackmail is not a family value.

James Dobson, Exodus International president Alan Chambers and Exodus spokeswoman Yvette Cantu Schneider have been integral to the antigay campaigns in California and Florida. They have acted as key speakers for the campaigns’ rallies. They are unapologetic for their coalitions’ immoral and possibly illegal activities. Like their comrades, Chambers and Schneider seem to consider themselves above morality — and possibly above the law.

On Tuesday, Californians, Floridians, and Arizonans who care about integrity and freedom — in faith and politics — should vote No to lies, intimidation, Internet hacking, sleazy financing, extortion, lawlessness, and threats to individual and religious freedom.

They should vote No to Proposition 2 in Florida, Proposition 8 in California, and Proposition 102 in Arizona.

Hat tip: Mike Tidmus