Prop 8 fight gets ugly on both sides
by Seth Hemmelgarn
Proposition 8, which would ban same-sex marriage in California, has generated incidents on both sides in recent days, with the Yes on 8 side reporting a supporter was attacked, and those opposed to the measure report yard signs being burned or stolen.
The ProtectMarriage campaign reported Monday that a Prop 8 supporter was attacked Sunday, October 12 by an apparent opponent of the measure.
According to an e-mail from Chip White, press secretary for Yes on 8, Jose Nunez, 37, was waiting to distribute yard signs to other supporters of the measure after church at Modesto's St. Stanislaus Parish Sunday.
White's e-mail, which was sent out on Monday, said that someone grabbed about 75 signs and yelled at Nunez, "What do you have against gays?" Nunez replied that he had nothing against gays, according to the e-mail, and was then attacked.
In an e-mail to the Bay Area Reporter, Sergeant Brian Findlen, a Modesto police spokesman, wrote that the suspect apparently took the signs and was followed by Nunez. When Nunez caught up with the suspect, the suspect allegedly punched Nunez once.
According to White, Nunez - his eye dripping with blood - walked into a building on church grounds where a fellow parishioner called 911.
The church's pastor did not respond to a request for comment.
White's e-mail said Nunez "suffered a bloody eye, serious wounds to his face, and a scratch to his knee."
Findlen said that Nunez suffered a laceration near his eye that required medical treatment, and was transported by ambulance to a local hospital. He said he couldn't confirm the other injuries.
Findlen said Nunez was assaulted at about 11:15 a.m. The case has been assigned to a detective.
"We have investigative leads ... and hope to identify the suspect in this case," Findlen wrote.
According to White, Nunez, a native of Mexico, became an American citizen two months ago and has three children, ages 9, 5, and 3.
"It's outrageous that the No campaign calls themselves the voice of tolerance and moderation and wants people to feel bad for supporting Prop 8," White said in the e-mail. "There was nothing tolerant or moderate about beating up Jose."
White did not provide a phone number for Nunez by press time.
The No on 8 campaign sent out an e-mail Monday calling for a peaceful campaign.
Asked about the incident in a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Patrick Guerriero, No on 8's campaign director, said, "Our campaign and its values are all about respect for every single citizen."
In Larchmont, a suburb of Sacramento, sheriff's deputies were called to a home Saturday after it was reported that a neighborhood teenager burned No on 8 yard signs. The teenager was taken into custody for a 72-hour psychological evaluation. While the youth was in custody, a third sign was stolen from the same home.
Paul Curtis and Ray Allen, a couple who own a home in the neighborhood, said neighbors have been divided over Prop 8. Their own No on 8 sign has not been damaged.
Dan Aiello contributed to this report.