The march of the thought police

You remember Prop. 8, don’t you?  That was the successful California ballot initiative that said that, in America, marriage is between a man and a woman.  Immediately after November 4, gay rights activists sued.  So far, the courts are being helpful.  A court in the Northern District of California just ordered the Prop. 8 backers to turn over all their documents so that the gay rights activists can see whether there’s any anti-gay basis in the documents:

A federal judge said sponsors of California’s ban on same-sex marriage may not delay in handing over campaign strategy documents to gay-rights groups that are looking for evidence of anti gay bias as they try to overturn the measure.

The sponsors had sought to keep the documents while challenging the order to turn them over in an appeals court.

But in a ruling late Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco said backers of Proposition 8 had failed to show that disclosing internal memos and e-mails would violate their freedom of speech or subject them to harassment.

He said they had refused to identify any documents that needed special protection and noted that he could order their opponents to keep any sensitive material confidential.

“It simply does not appear likely that (Prop. 8’s) proponents will prevail on the merits of their appeal,” Walker said.

He said he doubts that a federal appeals court even has jurisdiction to consider the dispute at this early stage of the case.


The measure’s sponsors, a conservative religious coalition called Protect Marriage, said voters were entitled to reaffirm the traditional definition of marriage and that the organizers’ alleged motives were irrelevant.

I suspect that every document will be redolent of anti-gay bias.  After all, if one takes the stand, as the activists do, that it’s anti-gay to want to limit marriage to the western tradition of one man and one woman, every document that strategizes about ways to encourage traditional marriage is, by definition, homophobic.

If you’d like a glimpse into what happens when the government seeks to control, not only what we do but what we think, this story out of Britain gives you the answer:

After witnessing a gay pride march, committed Christian Pauline Howe wrote to the council to complain that the event had been allowed to go ahead.

But instead of a simple acknowledgement, she received a letter warning her she might be guilty of a hate crime and that the matter had been passed to police.

Two officers later turned up at the frightened grandmother’s home and lectured her about her choice of words before telling her she would not be prosecuted.
Mrs Howe, 67, whose husband Peter is understood to be a Baptist minister, yesterday spoke of her shock at the visit and accused police of ‘ wasting resources’ on her case rather than fighting crime.

‘I’ve never been in any kind of trouble before so I was stunned to have two police officers knocking at my door,’ she said.

‘Their presence in my home made me feel threatened. It was a very unpleasant experience.

‘The officers told me that my letter was thought to be an intention of hate but I was expressing views as a Christian.’

Interestingly, even a gay rights group in Britain is worried that the government is going too far (which echoes an earlier report I found in which a Muslim rights group also protested the government’s heavy-handedness):

And homosexual equality pressure group Stonewall has branded the authorities’ response ‘ disproportionate’.

All of this is a reminder that, once government takes over “rights,” the whole concept of rights basically vanishes.  Government control and “rights” are pretty much antithetical to each other.

Orwell was amazingly prescient. For so long it seemed silly that he’d set his nightmare story of complete totalitarianism in Britain which was then, despite a Labour government, one of the freer countries in the world. He must have glimpsed something in his nation’s character.

(This story of the White House inveigling kids to a fair and then giving them heavy-handed lectures about diet somehow fits in perfectly with the above theme, doesn’t it?  H/t:  Sadie.)