If you’re reading this, you probably couldn’t go to Nevada, Virginia, New Mexico or another swing state to help bring hope and change to America Nov. 4.
But fear not. We can make history at UC Santa Cruz by uniting as Californians to stop Proposition 8.
After decades of struggle, the California Supreme Court recognized this year that separate is not equal when it comes to marriage. This otherwise very conservative court ruled that every couple in California, gay or straight, has the equal right to marry.
But in the wake of this tremendous victory for civil rights, a group of ultra-conservative organizations and individuals is working to eliminate the right to marry for LGBT couples by passing Proposition 8.
The backers of Proposition 8 are now spending millions of dollars a day in an attempt to persuade Californians to use our own constitution to hurt our friends, neighbors and family members.
They may have millions of dollars, but we have the power to stop them.
In the last few weeks, something extraordinary has been happening in California. We have been fighting back against this onslaught of right-wing money — and winning the fight against 8 — by taking matters into our own hands.
We came to the realization that the best way to stop Proposition 8 was for each and every one of us to reach out to people we know. Sure, the mass media can help. And if you can give $5, $10 or $25 to help fund our campaign we will put it to good use right away. But the best way to persuade our friends, family and colleagues to vote “no” on 8 is to ask them ourselves. We are finding out that when we call our aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers, friends and neighbors and simply explain in our own words and speak from our own hearts about why Proposition 8 is so unfair and wrong, that we are changing minds all over California.
It may be old-fashioned — a campaign that is actually based on people reaching out to other people. But it is working. Fueled by new technologies like social networking sites — and some old-school tools like the telephone — this campaign has already made millions and millions of personal appeals.
It is up to every single one of us to take the time to change minds. In just the last week I have been blogging, e-mailing, texting my own friends, sending out notices to my Facebook supporters, e-mailing my address books, raising money and speaking out around the state. And I didn’t forget to pick up the phone and call my own family and friends. I don’t read from any script or pay attention to “talking points” when I call. I just say in my own words why I feel it is so important that we treat everyone in this state equally. I talk about how I was just married, and how angry I would be if somebody tried to use the government to take away that right.
On Nov. 4, we are going to move America forward. Between right now and when the polls close on Election Day, let’s do everything in our power to make sure that a flood of right-wing money doesn’t move our own state backward.
Please join me and do more than vote “no” on Proposition 8. Please join me and take part in a groundbreaking movement that is protecting our fundamental freedoms by galvanizing millions of Californians to work together to protect our friends and neighbors and to safeguard our own civil rights.
Gavin Newsom contributed this guest editorial to City on a Hill Press.