Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Breaking news:
Prop 8 backers use Obama in ad


The front page of a direct mail piece sent out Friday by Yes on 8 that uses words and an image of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Photo: Michael Petrelis
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Call it a Halloween trick – the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign that seeks to ban same-sex marriage in California sent out a direct mail piece Friday featuring an image of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, complete with comments from him stating that he believes marriage is between one man and one woman.

While Obama has said repeatedly during the presidential campaign that he does not believe in same-sex marriage, he has stated that he is against Prop 8, the constitutional amendment on the ballot next week that would eliminate same-sex marriage in California.

Obama is heavily favored to win California in Tuesday's presidential election. The No on 8 campaign has been increasing its outreach to the African American community, which is expected to vote overwhelmingly for Obama. Many African Americans, however, have traditionally had conservative views on same-sex marriage. Some black leaders, however, such as former San Francisco Supervisor the Reverend Amos Brown, have been outspoken in urging blacks to vote against Prop 8.

The mailer, a copy of which was obtained by the Bay Area Reporter, shows a photo of Obama standing at a podium, his wedding band prominently featured, with his wife Michelle behind him. It quotes Obama as saying on an April 2, 2008 Hardball appearance, "I'm not in favor of gay marriage." It also includes a statement that Obama made during a presidential forum at pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in August.

"When asked to specifically define his views on marriage, Obama has stated that he believes 'marriage is the union between a man and a woman.' 'Now, for me as a Christian, it's also a sacred union. God's in the mix.'"

The mailer states "Vote Yes on Prop 8" and also includes a comment made by vice presidential candidate Joe Biden during his debate with Republican Governor Sarah Palin: "Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that."

Earlier this month, Biden appeared on Ellen DeGeneres's television talk show and said that if he lived in California he would vote against Prop 8.

The Obama campaign responded to the mailer, again stating its opposition to Prop 8.

"Senators Obama and Biden have made clear their commitment to fighting for equal rights for all Americans whether it's by granting LGBT Americans all the civil rights and benefits available to heterosexual couples, or repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' While Senators Obama and Biden oppose same-sex marriage, they support civil unions," said a statement issued by campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt. "Senator Obama has already announced that the Obama-Biden ticket opposes Proposition 8 and similar discriminatory constitutional amendments that could roll back the civil rights he and Senator Biden strongly believe should be afforded to all Americans."

San Francisco resident Michael Petrelis said he received one of the mailers on Friday.

"This deceptive mailer using Obama to promote hate is something I'd want debated if the yes and no forces were debating Prop 8," Petrelis told the B.A.R.

Geoff Kors, with the executive committee of No on 8, told the B.A.R. that the mail piece is just another example of Yes on 8's deceptive tactics.

"It's another shameful deceptive tactic by the Prop 8 campaign," Kors said. "It fits in with the many lies they've told throughout this campaign and continue to tell. They know exactly what the Obama-Biden position is – no on Prop 8."

Chip White, press secretary for Yes on 8, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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