This past Sunday, a parishioner at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Modesto, California was attacked while helping promote Proposition 8, which will define marriage as only between a man and a woman in California. According to promoters of the initiative, the assault is part of a “wave of violence” throughout the state.
Jose Nunez, 37, was waiting outside of St. Stanislaus for Mass to finish so he could distribute yard signs to Prop. 8 supporters when he was approached by an opponent of the initiative.
The unidentified man grabbed about 75 of the “Vote Yes on 8” signs and ran. Nunez then spotted the man trying to throw the signs over a wall and approached him.
When he got nearer, the man shouted, "What do you have against gays!" to which Nunez replied that he had nothing against gays.
When Nunez attempted to take the stolen signs from the assailant, the man punched him. The blow sent Nunez to the hospital, where he received 16 stitches for the wound below his left eye.
“Yes on 8” press secretary Chip White told CNA that the irony of the whole episode is that, the opponents of Prop. 8 “are the ones who are claiming to be tolerant and open-minded.”
"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. There was nothing tolerant or moderate about beating up Jose," said White. "Clearly the man who attacked Jose is intolerant of those who support traditional marriage," he added.
Following the altercation between Nunez and the anti-Proposition 8 assailant, the “No on Prop. 8” campaign director Patrick Guerrier released a statement condemning the violent attack and saying that such actions “should not be tolerated in any campaign."
In an interesting twist, Jose Nunez is originally from Mexico but just became a U.S. citizen two months ago. He will be voting for the first time in November. Nunez is also active in his parish as the Grand Knight of the St. Stanislaus Council Knights of Columbus, an organization that has contributed more than $1 million to the campaign for Prop. 8.
The attack has not lessened Nunez´s support for Proposition 8.
"The other side wants to intimidate us, but we can't stop standing up for traditional marriage,” he said. “I may be bloody and bruised, but I'm not giving up. Protecting traditional marriage is just too important for our kids," added Nunez, who is the father of three children, ages 9, 5, and 3.
According to Chip White, Californians from around the state have reported being harassed by people who are against Prop. 8. Among the incidents he related were: verbal harassment of Prop.8 supporters on the freeway, including obscene gestures; the theft of yard signs; and a woman in Riverside, California who had her garage sprayed with graffiti.
White characterized the incidents as “a whole wave of intimidation and violence up and down the state.”