Infuriated by a stinging loss in California last year, same-sex marriage advocates are resorting to a favorite tactic of political despots -- the witch hunt.
Two homosexual couples have asked the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to force religious and conservative groups to cough up private, internal communications from a successful campaign last year to protect marriage in the Golden State.
The activists' goal is to show that California's marriage amendment, known as Proposition 8 and passed by 52 percent of voters in November 2008, was designed to create "discriminatory animus" toward homosexuals, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Times reports that one attorney for the homosexual couples said that getting a hold of the internal communications "was essential to show how the initiative's supporters plotted to 'push the buttons' activating voter fears that gay marriage could imperil society and their own families."
Attorneys for Proposition 8 backers, in contrast, say such a course of action would chill free speech and political discourse.
No kidding. Since when is campaign rhetoric on either side of the ideological divide a legal offense? Politics is politics. Whether it's homosexual marriage, abortion, the bailouts, or troop levels in Afganistan, advocates on both sides give impassioned pleas that, not surprisingly, offend the other side. It's business as usual.
More to the point, it's part and parcel of an open society. Leftists don't like it because in the free market of ideas, the conservative message on marriage resonated with voters last election, even in an overwhelmingly Democratic year. No doubt the outrage would be non-existent had they won. It's sour grapes.
This latest move by homosexual activists, however, is especially disingenuous for one reason: the animus and hatred during the campaign wasn't from religious organizations, but from the left. That makes the current effort to unearth communication from conservatives odiously hypocritical.
During the campaign last fall, liberals' advocacy efforts routinely bridged the gap between the civil and the despicable, once even stepping into the blasphemous when Jack Black portrayed Jesus in an anti-Proposition 8 musical, something that millions of Christians no doubt found offensive.
Leftist activists routinely cast supporters of traditional marriage as backward, racist, religious zealots. The state's wide swath of liberal activists took it upon themselves to target specific donors on the other side.
For instance, a blog post last October on the Daily Kos encouraged readers to "find us some ammo" on Mormon donors to the Proposition 8 campaign, and promised "there will be hell to pay."
Bloggers threatened to burn down churches and Mormon temples, and one swore that he was angry enough to murder people "with his bare hands." One ad depicted two Mormon missionaries breaking into the home of a lesbian couple and tearing up their marriage license.
Aside from the hypocrisy angle, this latest push for a legal backlash against conservatives in California is even more fallacious because the sentiment expressed by backers of Proposition 8 is no secret. It can clearly be seen from their ads and published materials.
Two of the three judges on the 9th Circuit panel considering the case made that point, suggesting that there "probably was voluminous information illuminating the campaign strategy available online and from public pronouncements such as the flurry of television ads that ran in advance of the vote," according to the Times.
That, more than anything, shows that the left is trying to bully via court intervention. That's not a bad strategy. With few exceptions, the judiciary is the only avenue where they've met success, and then mainly in the liberal northeast.
Even there, though, marriage redefinition has gone down several times in recent months. In November, a majority of Maine voters backed a ballot initiative protecting the traditional definition of marriage. Last week, the New York state Senate voted 38 to 24 to kill legislation that would have redefined marriage to include homosexual couples.
Four states have legalized same-sex marriage, and the D.C. City Council is set to take the same course of action. But 30 states have passed marriage protection amendments, and only five have neither an amendment nor statutory provision outlawing homosexual nuptials.
So, liberals have reason to be infuriated with the situation in California and around the country -- and they're lashing out accordingly.