He's here. He's queer. And he's not above playing pranks to show that he means business.
Jeff Girard -- a 32-year-old native of Yuba City, CA, and current Angeleno -- is a social justice activist who's expressing his support for marriage equality by pranking residents of his hometown who donated big to the successful 2008 effort to ban gay marriage in the state, Prop 8.
Yuba-Sutter, which incorporates Yuba City along with about 20 other communities, is a starkly conservative area just north of Sacramento. Even the area's treehuggers aren't so gay friendly -- records show that even Recycling Industries of Yuba City donated almost $30,000 to support Prop 8.
Girard, who prefers to go by his performer name, Jeff 4 Justice, easily found the names of Yuba-Sutter's biggest Prop 8 donors in the town's local newspaper. Using that information, Girard tracked down the big spenders and decided to play a politically relevant payback prank. Showing up to their worksites with a flower and balloon, Girard made like a delivery boy and told the Prop 8 donor that he had a special gift for them.
Before handing them a flower and balloon, Girard gave the donor a note that read: "Dear Sweetie, I hope you spent as much money donating to help the poor as you wasted on preventing gay and lesbian couples from having the freedom to marry back in 2008. Sincerely, Jeff."
You can watch their donors' less-than-grateful reactions in these YouTube videos.
In this video, Girard visits tax preparer Matthew Fowles, who reportedly donated $4,000 to support Prop 8. In the video Fowles says he "didn't know" whether he had made the donation, while a woman in the background -- presumably a fellow officemate -- suggests that she she's pretty sure he did. While Fowles never admits to the donation, he does say that he is "certain that he is for marriage between a man and a woman." After accusing him of trespassing, Fowles urges Girard to leave, threatening to call the police. As Girard drives away, Fowles says that he has prepared taxes for same-gender couples. (Wonder if that'll still be true when they see this?)
In another video, Girard visits the office of someone he identifies as Susan Jones, a psychotherapist who reportedly donated $6,000 in support of Prop 8. After reading the note, Jones asks to speak to Girard out in the hall. Visibly aggravated by Girard's presence, she tells him that she is busy and is going to get back to her work. She proceeds to dodge Girard's questions about equal rights and spout roundabout, nearly irrelevant answers before going back into her office. Good times.
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Finally, in this video, Girard pays a visit to accountant Jerome Tenney, who reportedly donated $20,000 to support Prop 8. Tenney unresponsively reads the letter and tells Girard that he is "wasting his time" before silently walking back into his office.
It's interesting to remember that gay marriage was a lot less popular in California in 2008 than today. Even though the state voted to ban same-sex marriages back then, today six in ten California voters say they believe it should be legal. Of course those six voters don't necessarily live in Yuba-Sutter.
The U.S. Supreme Court could rule on Prop. 8's constitutionality as early as tomorrow.