Tag Archives: Proposition 8

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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No on H8

Jeffrey Lowery and David Kramer, domestic partners from Fremont, hold candles in Dolores Park. (Mike Kepka / The Chronicle)

Jeffrey Lowery and David Kramer, domestic partners from Fremont, hold candles in Dolores Park. (Mike Kepka / The Chronicle)

After days of feeling beat up and bruised, the gays, as we’ve been described on numerous radio call-in shows this week, took to the streets to yell, scream, and dance. I cried on election night and felt those tears once again when I turned the corner and saw hundreds of people streaming into Dolores Park. The cheers were passionate and the signs were funny. One of my favorites: I moved to California and all l got was this lousy ballot initiative! I was like, me too! The plan is to take the fight to Sacramento and to the steps of the Mormon Church, which reminds me of another sign that read “No more Mr. Nice Gay!”

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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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Alas, Prop 8 May Pass

My relief at Obama’s election was quickly eclipsed by despair, as the polls in California closed the instant the President elect was called on CNN, and the prop 8 race was close. I monitored the polls until 11PM, and expected to know the results when I woke up this morning, only to find that the vote was still too close to call. I listen to a story on Prop 8 as I write this now, with cheering pro Prop 8ers sure of their victory.

I realized at some point last night that the fight would continue: gay rights advocates will fight prop 8 in the court, anti-gay marriage haters will try to have existing same-sex marriages annulled.

I’m jaded, I know, but I’ve lived in so many places that were allegedly the most progressive in the country, and have always been disappointed, feeling either stranded on a small island of tolerance– I hate that word, but I am using it intentionally here– or feeling bitterly betrayed by the shallowness of progressive commitment. I live with the small sliver of San Francisco’s black community that hasn’t been pushed out of the city in the Fillmore district. From this vantage point, in the most progressive city in the most progressive state, I have to ask: What does it mean to be progressive in the United States?

Electing a black president is perhaps one of the most progressive acts of the national American electorate in the history of the United States. But I’m not sure how hopeful that makes me feel about the direction the United States will take. One day into the reality of a President-elect Obama, I am sick of the electorate patting themselves on the back for electing a black person, especially as they use their other hand to casually swipe at the rights of another minority group.

My hope is that Obama will eventually change the conversation, and prompt a civic engagement with a universalist bent that will deliver me and the rest of the world from the divisiveness that rules our country, without compromising so much that no good is accomplished during his Presidency.

A tall order, I know.

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