Tag Archives: PFAW

“We the People” stand together for marriage equality and religious freedom

Some amazing volunteers put together this video for the Courage Campaign.  Unlike some other ads out there (NOM NOM NOM), individuals appearing in this video are real people, including a carpenter, lawyer, priest, and a soldier discharged under the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.

Speaking of NOM…they are out today with their latest ad, playing the victim and trying to claim that they lose their rights when gay people want to get married.

As “We the People” explains, marriage equality and religious freedom are not in conflict. The constitution provides for a separation between church and state, meaning that no religious organization can be forced to perform or acknowledge same-sex marriage if they choose not to.

They are sowing fear and distorting the facts in an attempt to try and hold on to an increasingly smaller share of the American public.

NOM is putting Miss California up as their spokeswoman victim.  They probably correctly assume that she is a better mouthpiece than their most prominent board member, best-selling fiction writer Orson Scott Card.  PFAW:

(full disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign)

“The NOM has argued that it is not a homophobic organization, but Card’s remarks suggest otherwise. Card, who represents the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the board and received an effusive welcome last week from NOM president Maggie Gallagher, supports criminalizing sex between same-sex adults:

Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books…to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens.

“Card has also advocated overthrowing the government if same-sex marriage is permitted:

How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

Biological imperatives trump laws. American government cannot fight against marriage and hope to endure. If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die.

Puts those comments about bigotry in context, no?

NOM is afraid of change. Don’t let them take away what makes this country so great.

Let us all stand together for equality and freedom.

Sign the pledge to repeal Prop 8. Please pass the video along to your friends and family.

CSU Reaches Agreement on Loyalty Oath

As we’ve reported before, the CSU has had a problem with refusing to allow potential employees to modify the state’s loyalty oath to fit the employee’s religious needs, despite the fact that the UC system has had no problem accommodating such religious freedoms. Eventually People For the American Way got involved and today they reached an agreement with CSU that gets one of the fired employees a job this fall and ensures that CSU will finally begin properly administering the oath:

CSU has agreed to appoint [Wendy] Gonaver as a temporary lecturer teaching two classes in American Studies and Women’s Studies during the fall 2008 semester, and to allow the attachment of a revised explanatory statement to the oath that CSU agrees does not undermine or qualify the oath….

Judith E. Schaeffer, Legal Director of People For the American Way Foundation and Gonaver’s attorney, said the settlement clears the way for others with religious or other objections to the oath to attach an explanatory statement, as long as the statement does not undermine or qualify the oath.

This is a welcome result – Wendy Gonaver should never have been fired and the CSU should have had better practices to handle religious objections to the oath. Still, this doesn’t mean everything is now fine – the loyalty oath still exists, and remains an obsolete relic of a McCarthyist past. California legislators should ramp up their efforts to do away with this pointless oath, so that schools and teachers can get on with the business of educating their students.

11,000 Petitions Delivered to CSU on the Loyalty Oath

While Jeff Denhamn chases Communist ghosts, activism on the loyalty oath continues. In response to recent firings of Quaker teachers who needed to alter the oath, People for the American Way delivered 11,000 petitions to CSU Chancellor Charles Reed’s office calling for the CSU system to conform to case law and the UC system practice of allowing employees to attach an “explanatory statement” to the oath clarifying its relationship to their religious beliefs. The petition text:

“There’s no good reason for Cal State not to let employees express their religious or other objections to signing the state’s “loyalty oath.”

“Please uphold freedom of religion and freedom of speech by adopting a policy that allows employees to add an explanatory statement to the oath that will allow them to sign it without violating their beliefs.

“This is already common practice at the University of California. You should make it the practice of Cal State.”

PFAW Foundation President Kathryn Kolbert explained it this way:

“It is simply beyond irony that a teacher planning an American studies course with a section on the McCarthy era would be required to sign a ‘loyalty oath.’ Our members are engaged around this issue, and we’re committed to seeing it through to the end. This should be a straightforward matter for the University, the protection of religious freedom and free speech. We’re hopeful this issue will be resolved soon.”

There is no reason for the CSU system to not embrace these calls for reform. The loyalty oath is an anachronism from the 1950s, and while CSU cannot refuse to administer it, they are under an obligation to handle it with respect to Californians’ religious freedoms. The recent firings of CSU teachers at the Fullerton and East Bay campuses suggest that CSU needs to change its policies and practices.

You can also sign the petition online – and help ensure religious freedom and civil liberties at the CSU system.