If you gave money to the successful Proposition 8* campaign to outlaw same-sex marriage in California, you'd better watch out. Anonymous gay-marriage activists have mashed up public data with Google mapping technology to create Eightmaps.com, an online map to your home. And it's perfectly legal.
Alarmed Prop 8 backers recently filed a federal lawsuit seeking an injunction against a state law forcing citizens who give $100 or more to campaigns to disclose their names and addresses. We had all better hope they prevail.
"I don't get the fear," gay-marriage campaigner Andrew Sullivan disingenuously wrote on his popular blog. "If Prop 8 supporters truly feel that barring equality for gay couples is vital for saving civilization, shouldn't they be proud of their financial support?"
Andrew Sullivan. Please. He's being made the voice of the GLBT community? I certainly hope not, and not just because, as some of you may recall, he continues to nominate me for The Moore Award (not all bad, really - it is the Michael Moore award, and Moore has done some pretty good work in his day). Oh - I don't know how it ended up - last I heard, I was beating out Gloria Steinem. But I digress. Andrew Sullivan is an HIV+ gay man who advertises for unprotected sex. That used to get you an attempted murder charge. Oh, and he's an arrogant, pompous, condescending jerk. His quote above pretty much shows how disingenuous he is - he doesn't get the fear? With gay bashing on the rise in the United States, he doesn't get it? Right. The article continues:
Oh, please. This is why people are frightened by Eightmaps:
•Margie Christofferson, a manager of a popular Hollywood restaurant, did not talk about her politics or her religion but quietly gave $100 to the Prop 8 campaign. Activists swarmed the restaurant, with a mob getting so out of hand that riot police had to be called.
•A man who wrote a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle supporting Prop 8 soon found that gay activists posted to the Web personal information about him and, as appalled Chronicle columnist John Diaz noted, urged "in ugly language, retribution against the author's business and its identified clients."
•In Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, someone sent mysterious white powder to Mormon temples, apparently to protest the Latter-day Saints Church's role in passing Prop 8.
•In Fresno, police said the city's mayor and a local pastor received death threats over their support for Prop 8. Vandals pelted the pastor's church with eggs.
There's more where this came from. Given what gay-rights fanatics have shown themselves capable of – did you see the YouTube footage of a furious gay mob chasing a group of Christians out of the Castro district? – who can blame traditional marriage supporters for being afraid?
This is the video referenced above:
The article continues, and oh, joy - another quote from Sullivan:
In online Eightmaps discussion, gays typically take the line that anyone who would vote to take away their marriage rights deserves what he gets (Sullivan: "Why should you be able to protect yourself from the consequences?"). Extremism in the defense of gay marriage, therefore, is no vice. Let this be a lesson about the tolerance those who do not support same-sex marriage will receive if it becomes legal.
Why should someone be able to protect themselves from the consequences of having their own opinion?? Oh, gee, I dunno - because the CONSTITUTION guarantees it?? We have Free Speech in this country, Andrew. The following clip from the wonderful movie, "The American President," sums it up nicely:
So, that's why. You don't have to like what someone else has to say, but s/he has the right to say it without fear of threat or reprisal (unless what the person is saying is threatening). It is a Constitutional right. The article continues:
Eightmaps.commies are so caught up in their own revenge drama that they don't understand how this technique can be used against homosexuals. It won't be long before far-right radicals draw on publicly available data to create an online map to gay-rights supporters' homes. How safe will gay folks in small towns feel if gay bashers are one click away from a map to their house?
For that matter, anyone who wants to give money to a candidate or cause will wonder if it's worth taking the risk of being eightmapped by radicals. Would you give to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, La Raza or Planned Parenthood if you thought right-wing goons would eightmap you, as these left-wing goons have eightmapped social conservatives? Could you afford to put your family at risk?
And that's the only conceivable point of Eightmaps: to intimidate ordinary people into political docility.
Eightmaps is a vicious cultural bellwether. It rips apart a common understanding that makes it possible for us to live together in a diverse democracy. Today, technology makes a great deal of personal information about each of us publicly available. We therefore depend more than ever on the restraining power of custom – such as the shared sense that people have the right to feel safe in their own home – to keep that information from misuse.
And that "political docility" seems to be the hallmark of this recent election cycle. I have never seen this level of thuggery, threat, and intimidation before, certainly not by Democrats. But now we have Black Panthers standing outside polling places, groups going into polling places disseminating political propaganda, groups wearing vulgar hate speech t-shirts, shouting down Congresswomen, destroying private property, and hunting people down for not supporting their candidate. Those of us who have the audacity to speak out against The One have had to guard our privacy jealously for fear of reprisal. Too many have been the recipients of damage done in one form or another, from character assassination to having to spend time and money to counter mischief made against us. All because we did not agree.
As the author says, it comes down to custom:
Recall this memorable exchange between William Roper and Sir Thomas More in Robert Bolt's play A Man for All Seasons:
Roper: Cut a road through the law to get after the Devil? Yes. I'd cut down every law in England to do that.
More: And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? ... I give the Devil benefit of law for my own safety's sake.
Substitute the phrase "custom" for "law," and you have captured the danger of what the Eightmaps people have done. They may believe Prop 8 backers are devils, but they ought to give the devils the benefit of custom for their own safety's sake – especially given the vulnerability homosexuals have always had to gay-bashers.
When some techno-savvy barbarians turn this technique against them, remember Sullivan's snide brush-off to Eightmaps' potential victims: "Cry me a river."
He'll regret that one day. We all will.
Rod Dreher is a Dallas Morning News editorial columnist. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Cry me a river." Yes, typical compassionate Sullivan. What shocks and appalls me is that a community that has long been on the receiving end of this kind of treatment is now engaging in this kind of treatment. Given that gay bashing is already on the rise, what in the world would stop someone from using Eightmaps to target people who give to the Human Rights Campaign? PFLAG? GLAAD? Any number of gay-positive organizations? Or Women's organizations?
And, why is it that these GLBT thugs seem to have isolated a select group of people for their ire? Why not the African American community, or the Hispanic community, both of which voted in large numbers for Obama, and FOR Proposition 8? Why don't they hold Obama accountable for placing someone like Doug Kmiec, a Pro-Prop 8 supporter, head of his Faith Outreach Team? Oh, I am sure most of those people still bow and scrape before Obama, denying to their core his own stance against gay marriage, his numerous insiders against gay marriage (Rick Warren, Tim Kaine), but they'll target a restaurant owner who gave $100 bucks? Seems to me they have their priorities a bit skewed.
And their morals. While it may not be illegal to post online directions to people's homes, it is immoral and unethical when the intent is to harass them, and that is clearly the intent of these thugs. How is it that they think this is going to help our cause? Do they honestly think that terrorizing these people is going to make them MORE willing to support LGBT marriage? Really? And do they not see how very much alike they are to gay bashers with these actions? They are targeting people with intent to intimidate (at the least), and possibly do harm just because they disagree with their stand, and they don't see the irony?
Well, I do. And I am disturbed by it. No one wants gay marriage more than I do, but not by threats of violence and intimidation. This is wrong on so many levels, and I am sickened by their behavior. They do not represent our community well with their actions. They are acting rashly, and without a care to the long term consequences of their actions. They may get some short-term thrill or victory from it (in their minds), but they are causing long term harm to the community, and to our cause.
And they need to stop. Now. Just because other thugs on the Obama bandwagon got away with this kind of action does not make it right or acceptable. Violence begets violence, and if we start targeting people, they will just target us right back (more). Bottom line, it will do nothing but set back our cause, and will damage the entire community in the making. It is the wrong way for civilized people to conduct themselves, and it is the wrong way to get what we want - equality.
* Just out of curiosity, why does NO ONE ever mention Amendment 2 in Florida, which also passed this past election? It is always Prop 8 that gets the attention, even though Amendment 2 was pretty much the same. Doesn't make sense to me...