Tag Archives: prop 8

An Odd Week for Gay Rights

To be sure it was an odd week for me: I got a sunburn taking pictures in San Francisco the day the Prop 8 ruling dropped—I don’t know why awful things happen so often on atypically beautiful days.

A Woman Holds her Wedding Photo

A Woman Holds her Wedding Photo

I spent the night in Fresno Saturday, after the Meet in the Middle March, to spend money at the gay friendly businesses there, and because I was so so hot after hours at the rally. The body of my camera was melting it was so hot.

Thousands attended the Meet in the Middle Rally in Fresno

Thousands attended the Meet in the Middle Rally in Fresno

At the March I apparently stood quite close to Charlize Theron, who I think is really neat, in the crowd of thousands, but did not realize it until I saw photos of her in the newspaper the next day.

A very happy child at the Meet in the Middle rally

A very happy child at the Meet in the Middle rally

It’s been an odder week for marriage rights: the lawyers who fought Bush v Gore on opposite sides are taking the case for same sex marriage to federal court, much to the chagrin of lawyers who have been fighting the case on a state-by-state basis to avoid a gay marriage decision from the Supreme Court.  Though hopefuls note that an equally conservative court struck down anti-sodomy laws in Texas v. Lawrence in 2003, other observers point to Scalia and Kennedy with an “enough said” kind of resignation.

Also, Dick Cheney reiterated his support for gay marriage before continuing on his neverending Go-oh-Torture! tour.

An odd week all around.

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Prop 8 ruling and Supreme Court Nominee on Same Day?

I was happy to hear that Obama has nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, but I find it difficult to believe that his announcement of his choice today, the day that the California Supreme Court issued their Prop 8 ruling, was a coincidence.  Californians remember Obama’s tepid lack of endorsement for Prop 8 with bitterness, as it was so thin his position was used to encourage yes on 8 voters, and continues to be trotted out by homophobes, such as Miss California, as justification for their hateful views.  I didn’t see Obama field any questions about Prop 8 today, and presidential media attention seemed focused distinctly on Sotomayor, and her great story of uplift, Obama and his own wonderful story polished once again in Sotomayor’s reflected glow.  (Ah, how wonderfully just and democratic America is, if you work hard, and marry the oppoiste sex!).  But then again, I did spend most of the day taking pictures of same-sex couples weeping over their marriage licenses and interfaith clregy being arrested for civil disobedience, so I may have missed the questions about why Obama is such a PAMF on gay rights.

A Pro-Gay Rights Minister Offers Married Couple Comfort

A Pro-Gay Rights Minister Offers Married Couple Comfort

Interfaith Clergy Arrested at Prop 8 Protest

Interfaith Clergy Arrested at Prop 8 Protest

So I”l say it myself: I know you know better than to think that this is right, Barack Obama, and today I am ashamed that you are my president.

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Civil Unions for All: A Nifty Idea

I’ve long felt that the state should not be in the marriage business, and while this isn’t a likely change, it was a relief to see a proposition in California that seeks to get the state out of the marriage business.

Perhaps my relief was connected to the recent Supreme Court hearing on Prop 8, which demonstrated the shallowness of the court’s commitment to equal treatment under the law when it comes to gays and lesbians. Or perhaps the feeling stems from my dismay at seeing anti-8 lawyers struggle to justify their position on narrow legal grounds, and fail miserably. Surely I’m not the only one who thought that progress could not be best won by taking on the right on their terms, rather than advocating for the separation of church and state. Perhaps I’m oversimplifying, and I saw a sound legal argument that simply made no sense to me.

Still, I’m yearning for a little common sense to return to the discussion, a little clarity about what we are discussing: A legal contract. Nothing romantic about that, gay or straight. And certainly nothing sacred about this simple signing of papers.

Love is none of the state’s business, nor is God, but paper signing? Right where the power of the state is the clearest. It seems to me that this is the place to stake our claim, and I’m liking these two straight college students who stepped forward and staked.

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Obama’s Rick Warren Mistake

Lefties are ignorant about religion, resulting in political mistakes of no small magnitude.

Like the lefties on the Huffington Post suggesting that we embrace what we have in common with Warren as a way of reaching out to religious conservatives. They cite Warren’s anti-poverty work, and his reverse tithing, as examples of what he has in common with us.

While I am in favor of coalition building– and really, who isn’t on the left?– there is a line, and Warren, a vocal prop 8 supporter? That crosses it.

Progressives have religious leaders too, and though I am an atheist, I have met many of them in my work in the Bay Area. People who sleep on the street for a week once a year to know what it feels like to be one of the homeless they serve every day, for example, lit with a fervor that puts my bleeding heart to shame. And who still support LGBT rights– full civil rights, not some piecemeal second-class bullshit– while they believe in god.

Why not put one of these faithful people forward in the inauguration? Upend the idea that piety falls neatly in line with hate, as it does for Warren? Only 30 percent of Americans are religious conservatives, we tend to forget. Lumping religious together with conservative, and mistaking religious for conservative, is a grave error.

Homophobia is intolerable. It is intolerable in and of itself, and in that it upholds a patriarchal system of gendered inequality that has been used to oppress women since the dawn of time. If progressive aren’t going to take a firm stand on this, then who will?

Invite Warren to an anti-poverty summit, along with the numerous other religious leaders who struggle against injustice every day, sans mega church resources. But to invite a proponent of hate to speak at an event that is supposed to represent a summit of a civil rights movement– that is unfathomable.

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Oprah and Proposition 8

Now that the election is over, Oprah is free to discuss politics. On Friday, she discussed Proposition 8 with Melissa Ethridge and her wife, Tammy. Near the end of the clip Oprah admits that Prop 8 is a “setback.”

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More on Prop 8

Our frequent commentor Flyovermiss shared with me me something she’d posted privately elsewhere on the relationship between Prop 8 and the Obama victory, which I found particularly eloquent:

President-elect Obama listed us gay folk among his Americans in his victory speech last night, and the web tells me that’s a first for a president-elect. Since I knew I wasn’t one of Sarah Palin’s “real Americans”, it felt good to be named as such by the man overwhelmingly chosen by Americans to lead us into our future. It felt like possibility, like community, like openness and joy.

Today, looking at the results on Prop 8 in particular, those words feel like ashes in my mouth. The way the percentages work out, a substantial number of California voters went into the polls and said yes we can to Obama, and oh, no, you can’t to me and mine. I’ll be proud to remember the day that America chose Obama as president, but I am also stuck remembering that on that very day, even progressive Americans still denied me and others like me basic civil rights.

KC reminds me to see the positive, to trust the progressive momentum that Obama both represents and channels to bring good things for the GLBT community as well. Part of me thinks she’s right. Another part of me knows that the pall this casts over Obama’s victory, for me at least, can’t be ignored.

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Prop 8 Already in Court

A coalition of advocacy groups have filed a writ petition with the California Supreme Court, according to a press release issued by Equality California this morning.

The petition charges that Proposition 8 is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the constitution’s core commitment to equality for everyone by eliminating a fundamental right from just one group – lesbian and gay Californians. Proposition 8 also improperly attempts to prevent the courts from exercising their essential constitutional role of protecting the equal protection rights of minorities.


Writs are requests for an appellate court ruling on an issue before it goes to trial. I gather from the legal expert’s statements on the writ that appellate courts are not inclined to such boldness:

“Historically, courts are reluctant to get involved in disputes if they can avoid doing so,” said Shannon Minter, Legal Director of NCLR. “It is not uncommon for the court to wait to see what happens at the polls before considering these legal arguments. However, now that Prop 8 may pass, the courts will have to weigh in and we believe they will agree that Prop 8 should never have been on the ballot in the first place.”

However, it also appears that courts frown on the tyranny of the majority, especially as it usurps their judicial powers:

This would not be the first time the court has struck down an improper voter initiative. In 1990, the court stuck down an initiative that would have added a provision to the California Constitution stating that the “Constitution shall not be construed by the courts to afford greater rights to criminal defendants than those afforded by the Constitution of the United States.” That measure was invalid because it improperly attempted to strip California’s courts of their role as independent interpreters of the state’s constitution.

The court clearly ruled that marriage was a basic right of citizenship in May of this year, and should be displeased with a change to the constitution that attempts to sidestep this ruling. I hope.

The writ was filed by The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

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