Showing posts with label Perry vs. Schwarzenegger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Perry vs. Schwarzenegger. Show all posts

Monday, December 6, 2010

Live Telecast This Morning: Oral Arguments in Perry v. Schwarzenegger

     From Chad Griffin, the American Foundation for Equal Rights:
     I’m about to enter the courthouse with AFER’s lead attorneys, Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, where the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing oral arguments in our challenge to Prop. 8.
     Witness this historic moment. Visit for broadcast information including special coverage of today’s event. Whether you watch the hearing online or on TV, listen to it over the radio, or follow it over our Twitter-feed, this is an extraordinary opportunity to hear our legal team make the case for equality.
     The hearing is expected to last about two hours, and will address two questions. Starting at 10 a.m. PST, both sides will first address the issue of standing. David Boies will face off against the proponents of Prop. 8 and Imperial County, arguing that they lack the requirements necessary to appeal the Federal District Court decision.
     After the hour allotted to the standing question, there will be a short recess, followed by arguments on the merits of the case. Theodore B. Olson will argue that marriage is a fundamental right, denying that right to gay and lesbian Americans harms them and their families, and that Prop. 8 violates our nation’s promise of equality for all.
Watch it live on CSPAN or the California Channel.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Olson and Boies' Appellate Brief's Conclusion

     Here is the conclusion of the brief just filed by the plaintiffs and their attorneys, Theodore Olson and David Boies, in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger appeal.  Once again, I applaud the plaintiffs and their counsel for fighting the discrimination and hatred that fueled and is California Proposition 8.

     The entire document can be found here.  It's worth reading, but if you don't have the time, here's the conclusion to the 134 page document:
     Last month, in a widely publicized tragedy, a young Rutgers student jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after being outed on the Internet as gay. A few days later, across the Hudson River in the Bronx, two 17-year-old young men were beaten and tortured to the brink of death by a gang of nine because they were suspected of being gay.  Incidents such as these are all too familiar to our society. And it is too plain for argument that discrimination written into our constitutional charters inexorably leads to shame, humiliation, ostracism, fear, and hostility.  The consequences are all too often very, very tragic.
     Proposition 8 was promoted as necessary to protect marriage and children, but its unmistakable purpose and effect is to isolate gay men and lesbians and their relationships as separate, unusual, dangerous, and unworthy of the marital relationship. By definition, such a law stigmatizes gay men and lesbians, and that kind of stigmatization leads, often indirectly, but certainly inevitably, to isolation and estrangement.
     What can the Supreme Court mean when it says that our Constitution “neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens,” if a majority can so stigmatize a small, visible, and vulnerable minority and in the process cause such wrenching anguish? The American promise—and dream—of equality surely means at a minimum that the government, before “drawing a line around” some segment of its citizenry and designating them unworthy of something as important and socially meaningful as the institution of marriage, must have a legitimate and factually tenable rationale for doing so. Proposition 8 fails even this most basic level of scrutiny.  It advances no legitimate purpose.
     The judgment of the district court should be affirmed.

Perry v. Schwarzenegger Update: Olson and Boies File Appeals Brief

     Here's the latest in Perry v. Schwarzenegger via Prop 8 Trial Tracker:
     The plaintiffs in the landmark Perry v. Schwarzenegger case that overturned Proposition 8 filed their brief with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today, reiterating the clear unconstitutionality of the initiative that led to its being struck down by a federal district court after an exhaustive trial comprising overwhelming legal arguments, expert witnesses and first-hand testimony.
     “Fourteen times the Supreme Court has stated that marriage is a fundamental right of all individuals. This case tests the proposition whether the gay and lesbian Americans among us should be counted as ‘persons’ under the 14th Amendment, or whether they constitute a permanent underclass ineligible for protection under that cornerstone of our Constitution,” attorneys Theodore B. Olson and David Boies wrote in their filing.
     “Our Constitution requires the government to treat every American equally under the law,” said Chad Griffin, the Board President of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. “Only full federal marriage equality would fulfill the requirements of our Constitution. That is why we are pressing this case through the Supreme Court.”
     Here's the brief in full:
CA9Doc 145

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Minnesota Catholic Anti-Gay DVD Update: Evangelicals Love It; Catholic Artists Hate It

     Usually Evangelical Christians claim that Catholics aren't Christian, because they haven't "accepted Jesus  as their personal savior."  Catholic baptism is not enough.

    But a new age in ecumenism has dawned!  Same-sex marriage is bringing disparate denominations together in Jesus Christ.   The Evangelical Christian leaders of the Minnesota Family Council have thrown their support behind Catholic Archbishop Neinstedt's DVD-attack on gay rights.

     The Minnesota Independent reports (my comments are interspersed):
     The Minnesota Family Council called in a cadre of evangelical pastors on Monday to express support for Catholic Archbishop John Neinstedt’s campaign for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Minnesota and condemned those working toward marriage equality for same-sex couples. Pastor Jim Anderson of Hasting said that same-sex intercourse is “against nature and wrong,” adding that the “body parts don’t fit,” while Steve Goold of New Hope Church said that marriage is important because it tames men from their “passions” and protects women from being exploited by men.
     WTF?  How was exchanging women as property in "traditional marriage" for millennia not exploitation of women by men?  And, Pastor Jim, I'm sorry to tell you, but it is possible for a husband to rape his wife.  Go work in a domestic violence shelter for a few months.
     Anderson spoke of the importance of opposite-sex marriage saying it’s best for children and that same-sex marriage is “dangerous.” “Same-sex marriage is incapable of benefiting society in any of these ways,” he said. “There is a strong and documented case can be made for society being harmed by too much same-sex marriage.”  
      Actually this case can't be made.  These homophobic lies didn't hold up in a federal court of scientific proof and law.  In the states where same-sex marriage is legal, there's no proof of any of these claims.

     He spoke of same-sex intercourse and body parts. “Compassion and love for our homosexual neighbor does not allow us to remain silent concerning the disproportionately high rate of measurable harm that attends same-sex relationships,” he said. “That is why we believe that reasonable persons know that same-sex intercourse is against nature and wrong. The body parts do not fit. We are talking her about material structures of the male female body.”
     These pastors keep claiming that "the body parts don't fit," meaning the penis and the anus.  However, men and women have been taking it up the butt since the beginning of time.  Trust me.  The parts fit.  

     But how many women were unable to take their husband's erect penis up their vagina on their "wedding night" because it was too painful?  There's no barrier in the anus that must be violently ripped through in order for intercourse to take place.  What was the Christian "god of nature" thinking?

     (The 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, a project of the Centers for Disease Control found that “40 percent of males ages 25–44 have had anal sex with a female, and 35 percent of females of this age have had anal sex with a male” without harmful effects.)

     While the Catholic bishops are accepting the kudos of their frenemies, they are going after one of their own: artist in resident at the Basilica of St. Mary's.  The Minnesota Independent reports:
     An artist who had planned to create a sculpture from DVDs send out by Minnesota’s Catholic bishops said she was suspended from her position as the Basilica of St. Mary’s artist in residence. Lucinda Nayor’s project will take anti-gay marriage DVDs sent out to Catholics in advance of the November election and create a message of “creativity and hope.” While Naylor faces a setback at the basilica, she got a boost on Monday when other groups including one called Return The DVD, joined up with her project.
    Here are the bigoted pastors at work:

     Once again, this is tautology at work.  "If we say it enough, it's true."  This good Christian is a liar:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Archbishop Nienstedt's Very Political and Anti-Gay-Rights DVD

     In the last section of his introduction, Nienstedt calls for Minnesota's voters to be presented with an amendment to the Minnesota constitution.  He also uses the Tea Party catchphrase "ruling elite," when referring to the legislature and judicial wings of government.  It appears that he doesn't understand what it means to have a representative government and a system of checks and balances.  

     Here is the second half of the DVD, which was produced by the anti-gay the Knights of Columbus.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

California Supreme Court Denies Prop 8 Proponents Attempt to Force Schwarzenegger and Brown to Appeal

     There's been another small victory against the anti-gay Pacific Justice Institute's attempt to overturn Perry v. Schwarzenegger.

     Metro Weekly Reports:
     On September 1, the California Third District Court of Appeals refused an attempt by lawyers with the Pacific Justice Institute on behalf of Pastor Joshua Beckley to require California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) to appeal the ruling of the federal disctrict court in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the challenge to Proposition 8.
     Today [Wednesday], Schwarzenegger and Brown filed papers in the California Supreme Court responding to an appeal of that ruling that was filed on September 7, with Deputy Attorney General Tamar Pachter writing for Brown that Beckley's attempt "is too little, too late."
     Click here for Brown's letter and here for Schwarzenegger's.  They are pretty clear concerning the power of elected officials and the separation of powers in our government.

     Last night, the CA Supreme Court denied PJI's petition.  Yey!

     California's highest court on Wednesday refused to order Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state's attorney general to appeal a federal ruling that overturned the state's gay marriage ban.  The state Supreme Court denied a conservative legal group's request to force the state officials to defend the voter-approved ban.
     Flex those gubernatorial muscles, Arnold!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Good News in CA Marriage Equality Battle

     A California court has refused to order Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown to appeal a ruling that overturned the state's gay marriage ban.
     The 3rd District Court of Appeal on Wednesday denied a conservative legal group's request to force the officials to defend voter-approved Proposition 8.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

NOM Is Lying for their god to Discredit Judge Walker

     The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), not to be confused with this NOM, recently released an ad attacking the Federal Court's decision in Perry vs. Schwarzenegger that declared California Proposition 8 unconstitutional.  NOM's ad is full of lies.

     I often feel helpless in the face of these lies.  It's overwhelming to see these lies treated as valid argument in television commercials, news reports, and on the internet.  NOM has already claimed that it is their god-given right to take away others' civil rights.  This Christian group believe that since their god is for them, no one can be against them.  This delusion is the basis of their entitlement, the illusion that feeds their belief that lying for their version of their god's will is holy.

     The Federal Court's decision, authored by Judge Walker, systematically, legally, and constitutionally dismantles these lies.  The lies don't hold up in court.

     As a response, NOM released the new ad, full of homophobic lies, trying to discredit Judge Walker.

     Here is a succinct response from the folks at that confronts and disproves each of the lies in the NOM ad.  Thank you,

Monday, August 30, 2010

Closeted Crist & Out Ashburn on Homo-Mehlman & Same Sex Marriage Bans

     In the wake of former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman's coming out party, other gay Republican politicians are making their voices heard.  Of course, there's quite a disparity between those in and out of the closet.  (Those of you who watch the fair and balanced news rhetoric on FOX wouldn't know anything about this story.)

     Outgoing California State Senator Roy Ashburn, who came out only after getting caught with a boy-toy in a government-owned vehicle after getting wasted at a gay bar (MWM. GOP. DWI. LGBT. OMG.), said the following to On Top Magazine in response Mehlman's post-anti-gay-Republican-career coming out party:
     “I'm pleased for him,” Ashburn said, “because knowing what I've been through in trying to keep a secret for so many years and in trying to hide my secret, doing things that were hurtful to gay people, coming to the realization that you can actually admit who you truly are, and to stop the hiding and the actions around that which are hurtful … I mean that's a big breakthrough and I'm happy for him.”
     Then Roy took it one step further:
     “I would argue that the Republican party, because of the principles underlying Republicanism, really is the party that should be championing equal rights for gay people, for all people." 
     Roy, I'm not holding my breathalyser.  There are still more self-hating closeted Republican politicians in office and positions of power far greater than outgoing state senator that are doing far greater harm than which you and a handful of other openly gay Republicans could ever atone.

Image from Wonkette
     For example, take Florida Governor and U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Crist.  Here's what this well-groomed governor had to say to Ed Henry on CNN's State of the Union:
ED HENRY, HOST: You have previously said in your gubernatorial campaign, you supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Now that you're trying to occupy the political center, are you still in favor of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage?
CRIST: I feel the same way, yes, because I feel that marriage is a sacred institution, if you will. But I do believe in tolerance. I'm a live and let live kind of guy, and while I feel that way about marriage, I think if partners want to have the opportunity to live together, I don't have a problem with that...
HENRY: But governor, doesn't it sounds like you having it both ways [Jesus Crist!] by saying live and let live, but I also support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. If it's live and let live, why would you ban same-sex marriage?
CRIST: Well, everything is in a matter of degree, Ed, and when it becomes to the institution of marriage, I believe that it is between a man and a woman, it's just how I feel.
     Sorry, Charlie, but our constitution isn't based upon feelings.  Courts rule on findings of fact and conclusions of law, not on how one group feels the rest of the country feels or should feel.

     Perhaps, Charlie the Crist, needs to brush up on his civics, by reading the federal court's decision that California Proposition 8 was unconstitutional.  In it, he would find the eighty findings of fact and additional conclusions of law that form the spine of the court's ruling, not feelings.

     On the other hand, David Blankenhorn and Kenneth Miller, the only two witness produced by the Yes on 8 proponents, gave testimony that did not hold up in court.  The Yes on 8 proponents did such a miserable job that the court found "the opinions of Blankenhorn to be unreliable and entitled to essentially no weight in court" and Miller's to be "entitled to little weight."

     Those of us fighting for marriage equality are thankful that the federal court's decision was not based upon an opinion-poll-election and political commercials overflowing with false witness, but was instead based upon the facts and testimony of the plaintiff's seventeen witnesses.

     Basing rules and laws on opinions and feelings might work in church, but they don't hold up in a court of law.

     Charlie Crist is a disgrace to the gay community.  It's time he follows Mehlman and Ashburn's lead by forsaking his homophobic, bigoted feelings.  Come out, for Crist's sake!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Grants Appellant's Motion for Stay of District Court's Order.

     Here is the text of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to grant the proponents of California Proposition 8's stay of the district court's decision to allow same sex marriages to take place in California starting this Wednesday.  There are no reasons stated for why the stay was allowed, which is infuriating considering that the proponents were unable to prove argument against same sex marriage during the trial.

Case Name: Kristin Perry, et al v. Arnold Schwarzenegger, et al
Case Number: 10-16696
Docket Text:
Filed order (EDWARD LEAVY, MICHAEL DALY HAWKINS and SIDNEY R. THOMAS) Appellants’ motion for a stay of the district court’s order of August 4, 2010 pending appeal is GRANTED. The court sua sponte orders that this appeal be expedited pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 2. The provisions of Ninth Circuit Rule 31-2.2(a) (pertaining to grants of time extensions) shall not apply to this appeal. This appeal shall be calendared during the week of December 6, 2010, at The James R. Browning Courthouse in San Francisco, California. The previously established briefing schedule is vacated. The opening brief is now due September 17, 2010. The answering brief is due October 18, 2010. The reply brief is due November 1, 2010. In addition to any issues appellants wish to raise on appeal, appellants are directed to include in their opening brief a discussion of why this appeal should not be dismissed for lack of Article III standing. See Arizonans For Official English v. Arizona, 520 U.S. 43, 66 (1997). IT IS SO ORDERED. [7441574] (JS)

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Agrees to Stay Same Sex Marriages in California

     Once again the Christian right has taken a big crap on the backs of gays and lesbians.  The proponents of Proposition 8 didn't produce one credible witness in Perry vs. Schwarzenegger (see the court's decision).  They didn't prove that same sex marriages will harm opposite sex marriages, children, or the state.  Nor did they prove that allowing same sex couples to marry immediately would cause the state harm, but nonetheless, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the right wing Christian's plea to revoke same sex couples' right to marry as ruled by the California Supreme Court in 2008 and the Federal District Court two weeks ago.

     Weddings that were to start on this Wednesday are off.  SHE and I were going to get married, but now it's off.  Two weeks in a row, California same sex couples have been knocked over the head by the other's god-stick.  It is seriously time to consider moving out this backwards country to Canada or Mexico.

     Here's part of an email that I just received from the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center:
    Today, the forward march toward marriage equality was halted when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the ruling from Judge Vaughn Walker overturning Prop. 8.
     In light of Walker’s ruling, and with his temporary stay set to end on Wednesday at 5 p.m., the Center had made plans to offer free weddings with cake and champagne at a Wedding Day celebration on Thursday. Sadly, the appellate court ruling means that these plans won’t be moving forward. The appeals court won’t hear arguments in the case until December 6, which means wedding bells are unlikely to ring for same-sex couples in California this year.
     News of the stay is a terrible blow right on the heels of Walker’s historic ruling that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional. 
     Mercury News reports:
     The three-judge 9th Circuit panel did not elaborate on either Walker's ruling invalidating Proposition 8 or the issue of allowing gay marriages to proceed right away. But the judges asked the ballot measure's lawyers to offer arguments on why they have the legal right to appeal when the state's top two officials, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Brown, refuse to defend the law and say it is unconstitutional.
     On Monday, backers of Proposition 8 made one final plea to the 9th Circuit to prevent same-sex couples from marrying in California until higher courts resolve their appeal of Walker's ruling. In court papers, Proposition 8 lawyers urged the 9th Circuit to reject Walker's findings, saying the voters in November 2008 had sound reasons to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples, such as to encourage procreation in society.
     If you read Judge Walker's decision and the various motions for and against a stay until appeals are heard, you will find that during the arguments of Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, the proponents of Prop 8 were unable to to prove their "procreation" arguments for marriage.  I wonder if the Ninth Circuit will invalidate the marriages of opposite sex couples who are unable to conceive children?

     This is a blow against justice and equality.  Once again, the Gospel According to Hate has prevailed over liberty and justice for all. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

LGBT POV Article on Yesterday's Prop 8 Stay Roller Coaster Announcement

     Here's a link to the full article that I mentioned yesterday, where SHE and I were interviewed by Phillip at Unite the Fight for a collaborator at LGBT POV.

     Phillip Minton left for the Beverly Hills courthouse right after taping the cheering reaction. I called him to tell him the bad news. I could feel sadness wash over him. He interviewed Tom Rastrelli (who blogs at The Gospel According to Hate) and his fiancé Bruce Mayhall, who have been together for three years [32 months to be exact]. They were the first to make it to the courthouse that day anticipating that Walker would lift his stay, allowing the couple to get married.
This picture of us waiting for Judge Walker's announcement was taken by Adam Lau of the AP and is making the internet rounds.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Denied Marriage, SHE and I Ended up the News

     The Los Angeles Times reports:
     Bruce Mayhall and Tom Rastrelli were the first in line Thursday morning at the Beverly Hills Courthouse, ready to get a marriage license if good news came down from Judge Vaughn Walker.  They dressed in matching pink shirts and waited.

     As the hours passed, they watched heterosexual couple after heterosexual couple -- decked out in suits and white dresses -- pass them in line to get married. They waited off to the side for their turn. CLICK HERE FOR THE REST
     Here's a short interview of SHE and I after we were denied a chance to get a marriage licence today. The interview was done by Phillip of Unite the Fight, and will be part of an article on LGBT POV.

Judge Walker Lifts Stay, but Imposes a New Temporary Stay -- WTF?

     This morning, SHE and I went to the Beverly Hills Municipal Court building in hopes of getting married.  We arrived shortly before 9:00 and were the first same sex couple in line awaiting Judge Walker's promised announcement (between nine and noon) that would possibly lift the stay from enforcement of California Proposition 8.  If he lifted the stay, as Governor Schwarzenegger (Republican) and Attorney General Brown (Democrat) proposed, there was the possibility that a window would be opened in which same sex couples in California could be legally married.  The question was how long the window would remain open before a ruling from a higher court slammed it shut.  SHE and I weren't going to miss a possible chance to marry.

     We sat and waited, while an endless stream of opposite sex couples passed us, approached the clerk's window, and received their marriage licenses within a matter of minutes.  After an hour of waiting for Judge Walker's decision, we'd watched about four or five opposite sex couples be whisked off into a private room by a justice of the peace and emerge less than ten minutes later happily married.  The clerks were kind and supportive of us as we waited, constantly pushing refresh on our smart phone's Google search "Judge Walker Stay."  County workers hopped on and off the elevators across the waiting area, smiling and giving us thumbs up, hoping for the best.

     More same sex couples arrived, each hoping to have their unions recognized by the state as marriages, hoping to have their loving commitments affirmed and backed up by the law.  The news media arrived.  First just a few stations, then the newspapers and more networks all wanting interviews.  SHE and I were dressed in khaki shorts and matching pink t-shirts.  We hadn't thought ahead about the possibility of being on the news when we were getting dressed.  We just wanted to get a marriage license so we could be married.  Now, I was wishing I had on a tie or at least a button down shirt and a nice pair of jeans, thankfully I'd taken the time to shave and trim my nose hair. (Having been on the road for the past month, the trim was much needed.)

     The news interviews began in full force.  ABC, CBS, NPR, LA Times, LA Weekly, NBC, LGBT POV, KMX 1070, etc.  FOX was absent.  

     The questions were similar:  "Why now?"  "First in line, you must really want to get married?"  "Why not wait until you can have a large wedding with family and friends?" "Why not wait until you are sure that your marriage won't be declared invalid by a higher court?"  "What does marriage mean to you?"  Etc.

     Our answers followed:  "We don't want to miss a window, if there is to be one."  "Time is not a luxury.  If the opportunity to be married arises, we're going to take it before the other side has a chance to take it away again."  "We're getting married because that's what two people who love each other do."  Etc.

     More same sex couples arrived, sat on the bench or leaned against walls, eyes fixed to their Google searches, hoping for the chance to be married.  More opposite sex couples arrived, walked up to the windows, got their marriage licenses, and left to be married.

     As tensions mounted in the same sex couples, news reporters, and courthouse staff, adrenaline pumped through my body, the physical manifestation of my emotions, my hope for the chance to marry the man that I love.  The small waiting area overflowed with same sex couples as opposite sex couples navigated the crowd to get their licenses.  

     11:00.  Nothing. 11:15.  Nothing.  11:45.  Still nothing.  11:55.  Nada.  12:00.  I felt like I was going to vomit.  12:01.  Still no news on the internet.  12:03.  Couples squeezed into the waiting space, wall to wall.  12:05.  News reporters asked us if we'd heard anything yet. 12:10.  The courthouse staff apologized that they had no information yet.  Then the news: on the cell phone of couple dressed in white named Tim and Floyd, Logo News reported that Judge Walker had denied the stay.   

     The room erupted in cheers.  Couples embraced one another and then split to hug the strangers next to them.  The news reporters' cameras flashed, pressed against the windows from outside.  We lined up, ready to join into the succession of opposite sex couples that had been receiving their marriage licenses.  SHE and I were first in line.  Smiles.  Tears.  Exhales.  EQUALITY!  This was the moment we'd been waiting for since November 2008.  More news reports flashed on smart phone screens informing us that Judge Walker had denied the stay.

     We stood and waited.  And waited.  The court workers apologized.  There was still no official word from the county.  Then, a text message on someone's phone informed us that Judge Walker had issued another temporary stay.  Jovana Lara (who BTW is absolutely gorgeous and a sweetheart to boot.  Ryan Owens is very hot.) sadly relayed the news from her smart phone that the AP was reporting that Judge Walker released the stay but then issued an additional temporary stay.  There were to be no marriages for our kind today.

     Shoulders dropped.  Tears fell.  Couples embraced.  We all stood.  Depleted.  Motionless.  At a loss.  

     Then, one of the clerks asked all of us to move to the back of the waiting room, so that the opposite sex couples could come to the front of the line to receive their marriage licenses.  We surrendered our spots in line.

     Same sex couples trickled out, quietly.  Reporters asked for reactions, comments.  More TV cameras, flashes, confusion, anger, loss, sadness...  

     Opposite sex couples trickled in, some in tuxedos and white dresses.

     SHE and I were the first couple to arrive and we were the last to leave.  We arrived with hopes of equality.  We left those hopes still in tact, but hit once again in the gut with the reality that we are still second class citizens.

SHE and I at the Beverly Hills Municipal Court awaiting the announcement.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Prop 8 Declared Unconstitutional (and All Those Nasty Stereotypes and Religious Claims Concerning Same Sex Couples Don't Hold up in Court)

    Perry v. Schwarzenegger is over.  California Proposition 8 has been ruled unconstitutional in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.  Read the landmark decision by Judge Walker by clicking here.

     Here are some clips from The Rachel Maddow Show last night concerning the ruling.  What is evident is that one's personal religious and homophobic stereotypes don't hold up in a court of law as reasons to deny minorities their civil rights.

     Here's Rachel on customer Pastor George Alan Rekers' role in the the Proposition 8 trial and ruling.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Proposition 8 Proponents' Attorney Argued Same Sex Marriages Will End Society

     The closing arguments of Perry v. Schwarzenegger were heard by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker yesterday.  The ruling will come later this summer.
Charles Cooper (via LGBT POV)
     The Los Angeles Times reports (My comments are interspersed.):
     Charles Cooper, attorney for proponents of the measure, told Walker that the “marital relationship is fundamental to the existence and survival of the race. Without the marital relationship, society would come to an end.”
     Because gays will destroy society?  Where have we heard that one before.  Pat Robertson & Jerry Falwell, Rick Warren, Martin SsempaJim DeMint, Mike Huckabee, the American Family Association, the Vatican, the U.S. military, etc. etc.  Just last week in Ghana, an anti-gay protest of 3,000 marched in the streets claiming that the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah would befall their nation if they didn't outlaw homosexuality, the protest's leaders claiming that gays wear diapers.  

     As if heterosexual Christians aren't doing enough to destroy the institution of marriage themselves.  Yes, scapegoat the queers.  That's an original and time-tested strategy.

     But wait a minute, if the purpose of marriage is to ensure procreation, then how did human beings evolve, exist, and procreate long before the patriarchal version of the institution of marriage was created?  Every other species on earth procreates successfully without the "marital relationship."  Cooper's argument is completely flawed.  The human race survived and thrived long before marriage, and if Cooper's doomsgay prophesy manifests, the human race will continue to procreate.
         That relationship, he [Cooper] said, is between a man and a woman and its main focus is procreation and “channeling” the sexual behavior of heterosexuals into “stable, marital unions.”
     Once again, I have to ask, does this mean that divorce should be made illegal?  Define "stable."  Should we pass laws defining a stable marriage and only allow heterosexual couples in so-called "stable, marital unions" to have sex and procreate?

Judge Vaughn Walker (via SFGate)
     Walker continually pressed the sometimes flustered Cooper on just what marriage means and why the state should care about it. Why does the state regulate marriage, he asked. Do people get married to benefit the community? Why doesn’t the state just consider it a private contract?
     Walker: “Why is it that marriage has such a large public role? What is the purpose?”
     Cooper: “This relationship is crucial to the public interest.… Procreative sexual relations both are an enormous benefit to society and represent a very real threat to society’s interest.”
     Walker: “Threat?"
     Cooper: “If children are born into the world without this stable, marital union … both of the parents that brought them into the world, then a host of very important, very negative social implications arise.... The purpose of marriage is to provide society’s approval to that sexual relationship and to the actual production of children.”
     If the purpose of marriage is to "provide society's approval to that sexual relationship and the actual production of children," then society is doing a shitty job by permitting so many children to be born into families of pedophiles, rapists, drug addicts, embezzlers, child-beaters, religious fanatics, mentally abusive, neglecting, self-centered, overbearing, disordered, cheating, lying, etc. etc. parents.  Where are all the laws that define and monitor marriage stability, determining whether a couple can conceive?  On what planet does Cooper live?

      Those who adopt go through rigorous screening processes before being allowed to become parents.  Olson presented evidence of studies showing that adoptive parents are more likely to provide a stable, nurturing household than your average married couple. Perhaps we need to take the babies born to those deemed "unstable" by Cooper's standards and put them all up for adoption.  That's it.  Stable same sex couples may actually save the human race by adopting and raising the children of abusive, unqualified, and unstable heterosexuals, who don't live up to Cooper's standards.

     And what of our soldiers that die in action?  Should their children be taken from their single mothers and placed in "stable" homes that have one mommy and one daddy?  Where does it end, Cooper?
Ted Olson (via Advocate)
     Cooper took Theodore Olson, attorney for the gay and lesbian couples who filed suit against Proposition 8, to task for claiming that Californians could support the ban on same-sex marriage only “through irrational or dark motive, some animus, some kind of bigotry.”
     People's religious beliefs don't excuse their actions, especially in a country where there is freedom of and from religion. Voting to take away the rights of a group, who holds different religious beliefs, is unconstitutional. 

     As for the dark motive, animus and bigotry, were not an endless barrage of commercials financed by religious groups channeled into my living room in 2008 purporting scientifically disproved myths and stereotypes of homosexuals as deviants, who were trying to prey on children in the school systems?  If that's not animus and bigotry, what is?
     Olson’s viewpoint, Cooper said, “denies the good faith of Congress, of state legislature after state legislature and electorate after electorate.”  To which Walker responded: “If you have 7 million Californians, 70 judges and this long history, why in this case did you present but one witness? ... You had a lot to choose from. One witness, and it was fair to say his testimony was equivocal.”
      Equivocal:  equiv-o-cal,  \i-ˈkwi-və-kəl\  According to Merriam-Webster, this is the definition of equivocal:

a: subject to two or more interpretations and usually used to mislead or confuse [an equivocal statement]  b: uncertain as an indication or sign [equivocal evidence]

     To download the full transcript click here.  My favorite moment came when during Cooper's argument, he sounded flustered and stated something like, "I'm losing my voice."

     We could only be so lucky.
Here is Kate Kendell's optimistic response after witnessing the closing arguments.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Perry v. Schwarzenegger Closing Arguments' Transcript

     The full transcript of the Perry v. Schwarzenegger closing arguments will be posted by the end of the day at the American Foundation for Equal Rights website.

Proposition 8 Closing Arguments Live Feed

     The Advocate has a live feed where you can follow the closing arguments in the California Proposition 8 trial.

Perry v. Schwarzenegger Closing Arguments, Prop 8 Supporters Want to Un-recognize 18,000 Legal Marriages

     The closing arguments of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which will determine the fate of marriage equality and the legality of the discriminatory California Proposition 8, begin at 10:00 PST today.

     You can follow the trial at Prop 8 Trial Tracker or follow on Twitter at #Prop8.

     Both sides are going for broke.  Attorney Ted Olson will be arguing for the complete reversal of the discriminatory and anti-gay law.

     Attorney Andrew Pugno and Prop 8's sponsors are not only arguing for the ban to be upheld, but also:
"urging the judge to go a step further and revoke state recognition of the marriages of 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who wed before voters passed Proposition 8...
     Andrew Pugno, an attorney for Prop. 8's backers, said in an interview that the sponsors aren't asking Walker to nullify the 18,000 marriages, but only to rule that government agencies, courts and businesses no longer have to recognize the couples as married."  (San Francisco Chronicle)  
     How does it serve the good of the institution of civil marriage to allow individual agencies, businesses, and people to decide whether they recognize this marriage or that?  These "traditional marriage" supporters are doing more to undermine the institution of marriage than those of us fighting for equal access to it.

     Whatever the outcome, this case is headed to the Catholic dominated Supreme Court.  I expect them to eventually rule on behalf of the Catholic/Mormon sponsored Prop 8.

     That doesn't mean I'm going to give up.

Friday, May 14, 2010

George Rekers Sing-Along and News Update, He's Suing and He's Completely Heterosexual

     Anti-gay "expert" and Baptist pastor Dr. George Rekers is completely heterosexual.  Forget the fact that he hired Lucien from to lift his baggage and massage his anus, including mutual touching, and that there's a contract that proves this.  Forget the fact that there are pictures.  Rekers is still claiming that he is straight and he going to sue...somebody.

     Matthew Staver of Liberty Counsel has offered to represent Rekers in his quest to sue the media for reporting on Rekers' hypocrisy.  Protecting Rekers is important to Stavers and the anti-gay Christian lobby, because Rekers pseudo-research has been quoted in Stavers court cases arguing against same sex marriage in California and against adoption by LGBT persons in Florida.  Rachel Maddow reports in the first video below:

Here's the fun song of the day: "George Rekers Is Completely Heterosexual" by Roy Zimmerman

Glory, how he blew ya!