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06/02/2010

They're coming for the court, San Diego. Time to play ball!

by Jeremy Hooper

Back in March, we showed you several videos from a group calling itself "Better Courts Now," and warned of how this band of anti-gay eye-openers is working to reshape the judiciary, one "activist judge" at a time. At the time, our warnings all seemed somewhat theoretical. An attempt to raise consciousness in general, not to invoke specific action. A smoke signal, not a rally cry.

Oh, but now. Now it has all hit home in a very real way. And in you live in San Diego, you better start caring RIGHT NOW:

[In San Diego], four sitting judges are being challenged by candidates hand-picked by an organization called Better Courts Now and backed by a coalition of evangelical pastors, an El Cajon gun store and opponents of reproductive choice and marriage equality. The organization was established by the late Rev. Don Hamer, who until his death two months ago was pastor of San Diego's Zion Christian Fellowship. He took a particularly active role in the campaign for Proposition 8 and, during the presidential election, produced a series of videos purporting to prove that Barack Obama was a secret Muslim.

Three of the four incumbent judges have been given the highest possible rating, "well qualified," by the local bar association. The fourth, a veteran judge, was given a lesser ranking, apparently because she's suing her colleagues in a dispute over probation policy. The bar found three of the four challengers unqualified; the fourth had too spotty a legal record to permit a rating.
...
Given the usual dearth of journalistic reporting in the run-up to judicial elections, and the low turnout in primary elections, small but motivated groups of extremists such as Better Courts Now can have an outsized influence. In fact, San Diego's actual demographics give its "values" campaign more than a whiff of the putsch: Just 14% of the county's residents are evangelical Christians, on behalf of whose values the slate claims to speak, while 67.5% are Roman Catholics and 8% belong to mainline Protestant churches.

FULL PIECE: Judges of their own [LA Times]

The election is next Tuesday. Wake up early. Leave the office on your lunch break. Rent a damn bus and drive around town picking up random registered voters. We don't care. But pro-equality San Diegans better care about next week's primary. And we all better care about this new effort, which, if it proves effective, will surely make its way across the map!

***

*Just one of the BCN videos, this from National Organization For Marriage affiliate Jennifer Roback Morse:

**Okay, one more. This one from Charles LiMandri (NOM and Carrie Prejean's attorney), a man who's on visual record sharing his belief that all gays are abused as kids, that drawing pictures of army tanks could possibly turn gay kids "normal," that LGBTs have a higher rate of violence, that gays are incapable/nondesirous of monogamy, and that the LGBT community's true goal is to attack religion. He's also a man who created a Powerpoint presentation which links to uber-disgraced researcher Paul Cameron to support anti-gay claims, and who even refers to "sodomy" as a "crime against nature." Furthermore, he's someone who has referred to marriage equality as "societal suicide" and "sacrilege," claiming that "the destruction of the concept of gender is perhaps Satan's greatest accomplishment." He wants his kind of judges on the bench:

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