Some folks have used public donation information and Google Maps to mark the houses of people who contributed money in support of Proposition 8, the California referendum against same-sex marriage:
It is exactly those arrows that concern supporters of the measure, who say they have been regularly harassed since the election — with threatening e-mail messages and sometimes boycotts of their businesses.
“Some gay activists have organized Web sites to actively encourage people to go after supporters of Proposition 8,” said Frank Schubert, the campaign manager for Protect Marriage, the leading group behind the proposition. “And giving these people a map to your home or office leaves supporters of Proposition 8 feeling especially vulnerable. Really, it is chilling.”
It’s easy for those of us who support the right of everyone to marry to say something like, “And well they should feel vulnerable! They should be held to account for their opposition to civil and human rights.” But look at what’s going on:
It is exactly those arrows that concern supporters of the measure, who say they have been regularly harassed since the election — with threatening e-mail messages and sometimes boycotts of their businesses.Boycotts are entirely fair: it’s perfectly right to say, “I won’t do business with someone who would limit my rights.” But harassment and threats of harm are not the way to handle this. That sort of thing is the antithesis of what we want: it puts a limit on free speech of others, and it might likely result in an injunction against the reporting regulations, taking away the accountability that we fought hard to put into place.
We are moving forward in steps, despite the efforts of those so mystifyingly opposed to what seems obvious and harmless. Change will come, and we can make it happen. But not by threatening people, violating their privacy, and making them feel unsafe in their homes.
Update, 14:50: As noted in the comments, it’s not that these maps have created a pervasive atmosphere of fear, nor that the maps only exist on one side of the issue, nor that threats and vandalism are only happening on one side. As Thom points out, there are jerks on both sides.