Thursday, November 27, 2008
We’re all playing by the same rules—we all have the same right to marry any non-related adult of the opposite sex. Those rules do not deny anyone “equal protection of the laws” because the qualifications to enter a marriage apply equally to everyone—every adult person has the same right to marry.
Homosexuals want the court to believe that because of their sexual desires they are a special class of persons that is being discriminated against. In other words, they think that sexual desires guarantee people special legal rights.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Richard Raddon, the director of the Los Angeles Film Festival who has been at the center of controversy ever since it was revealed almost two weeks ago that he had contributed $1,500 to the campaign to ban gay marriage in California, resigned from his post over the weekend.
The nonprofit arts organization Film Independent sponsors both the Los Angeles Film Festival, held in May, and the popular Independent Spirit awards. Raddon is a member of the Mormon Church, which actively called on its congregants to work for the passage of Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman. It has been estimated that Mormons gave more than $20 million in support of the recently passed ballot measure.
After Raddon's contribution was made public online, Film Independent was swamped with criticism from "No on 8" supporters both inside and outside the organization. Within days, Raddon offered to step down as festival director, but the board, which includes Don Cheadle, Forest Whitaker, Lionsgate President Tom Ortenberg and Fox Searchlight President Peter Rice, gave him a unanimous vote of confidence.
Maybe not. It's true that we've seen some wild things in the days since California voters approved Proposition 8 -- a measure on the state ballot prohibiting same-sex marriage. We've had the burning of the Book of Mormon. The mailing of envelopes filled with white powder to Mormon temples. And activists marching on Mormon churches with signs and shouts of "hate" and "bigot" directed at anyone who might have a difference of opinion.
In modern America, of course, these acts all come under the banner of "tolerance." And it's interesting that all those so outraged by the alleged disrespect toward the Quran shown by Guantanamo prison guards (the most sensational report was later retracted by Newsweek) appear unperturbed by the ugliness directed against our Mormon brothers and sisters. The temptation can be to saddle up the horse and ride out to take one's assigned place in the Great American Culture War.
Except for one little thing. What we have in America is less a culture war than a constitutional war. And if we could just straighten out the latter, we'd go a long way toward diffusing the former.
That much has become clearer in the wake of last week's decision by the California Supreme Court to review the legality of Proposition 8. In California, gay Americans have marriage in all but name -- which many Americans might think a pretty reasonable compromise. But courts tend to think in absolutes -- and when they intervene, woe unto the losing side.
The great achievement of our system was to create a political order where these great moral disputes, as a matter of policy, are left to the people -- with allowance for differences according to region and locale. Moral agents have a role to play, generally by shaping the larger culture in which these decisions are framed and debated. But the outcome is left to the people acting through their elected representatives, a process that inevitably involves compromise, trade-offs and messy accommodations.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
“A judiciary independent of a king or executive alone, is a good thing; but independence of the will of the nation is a solecism, at least in a republican government.”
"To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps.”
“A usurping judiciary will become a despotism.”
MIAMI (AP) — A judge on Tuesday ruled that a strict Florida law that blocks gay people from adopting children is unconstitutional, declaring there was no legal or scientific reason for sexual orientation alone to prohibit anyone from adopting....
"Everywhere in the law where children are affected, the standard must always be what is in the best interest of the child," said Stemberger, an attorney in Orlando. "What is stunning to me is that when it comes to dealing with gays, that standard goes out the window. Children do better with a mother and a father."
The civil rights struggle for racial equality was a deeply entrenched race caste system that was deeply rooted in the American psyche and integrated in the public policy agenda (Constitution) from the outset.
From slavery in the 17th, 18th and most of the 19th centuries to de jure and de facto segregation in the 19th and 20th centuries was a cultural impediment rooted in hate solely based on skin color that subjugated and marginalized black people in a very regimented way by the total society (women, children, foreigners, it didn't matter).
Signs were posted, protocols enforced and social (not legal) penalties enforced by the society (and reinforced by the courts). Discrimination could be imposed on sight. Not even the women's movement could be compared to America's race movement because not even women were mistreated, assaulted and killed with the frequency and volatility of the African American and Native American. Women, who were also discriminated on sight, were often turned (told to "go home") and assaulted if they persisted. African Americans were assaulted and killed if they persisted. Even womanists and feminists show a deference to the depth of hate waged against the African American and don't compare their movement to ours.
Not so with Gays and therein lies the problem. Sexuality is a disclosure (right of privacy) that allows people to be with who they please, in enjoyment and cohabitation. It also allows people to weigh their views on relationships against their moral values.
"Anyone who participated in this process has come to admire the competence, diligence and moral courage that so many members of your faith community displayed as part of this coalition effort -- as Catholics, Evangelicals, Mormons, and people of other faith communities all came together to fight this great battle for marriage," says the petition, which is addressed to LDS President Thomas S. Monson.
The California Supreme Court’s order last week to consider legal challenges to Proposition 8 contained one surprising twist -- the name of the sole justice who voted against hearing the cases.
Justice Joyce L. Kennard, a staunchly independent if not stubborn jurist, has a lengthy record of protecting gay rights, including the right to marry, and often sides with the underdog in rulings.
Monday, November 24, 2008
In a series of columns beginning with this one, I will take up these complex questions in detail.
Riverside, Calif. » Forty to 50 signs supporting Proposition 8 were found arranged in the form of a swastika on the front lawn of a Roman Catholic church.
San Luis Obispo, Calif. » Vandals poured adhesive on a doormat, key pad and window at two LDS churches and peppered a nearby Assembly of God church with eggs and toilet paper.
Sacramento » Ten area church buildings were vandalized, according to The Sacramento Bee.
Orangevale, Calif. » An LDS chapel sign and walkways were tagged with the phrases, "No on 8" and "hypocrites."
Sunday, November 23, 2008
"Although we strongly opposed Proposition 8, its passage does not justify the defacement and destruction of property. We urge Californians to channel their frustration and disappointment in productive and responsible ways to work towards full equality for all Americans. To place anyone in fear of threat to their houses of worship or their personal security because they have expressed deeply held religious views is contrary to everything this nation represents. Our Constitution's First Amendment protects freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion for all of us."
For other similar statements from opponents of Prop 8, read here.
Proposition 8 was an unsung victory for defenders of individual liberty. Wait, I know what many people will say to this. How can a measure that prevents gay couples from getting a marriage license be beneficial to the defense of individual liberty? It's because that vote represented a line drawn in the sand, even if a thin one, preventing the government from furthering its control over the institution....
None of this is to say that homosexuals are inferior human beings who deserve less liberty. However, it's time for homosexuals to realize that their cause is not as worthy as that of women or blacks because what separates them from everyone else is most likely, at the biological level, merely a minor genetic defect. Likewise, defenders of individual liberty need to realize that even the bigots did everyone a favor here by temporarily delaying the state's advance on its control over even the definition of marriage.
It's possible that some of us have been wrong in judging many of the gay rights activists as being vicious totalitarian thugs in the aftermath of Proposition 8. So then, the challenge to them is to prove us wrong. They can start by offering up a counter proposition to dismantle state licensing of marriage in California and to allow each religious institution to define for itself what marriage is between consenting adult parties, as it always should have been. Surely, if this is really just about getting married, they can find willing parties among the Church of Scientology or the Unitarians at the very least.
This music video contains offensive language and sexual innuendo. I post it, however, because it is a perfect representation of the No Crowd for what they really are. It is a song by Margaret Cho protesting the Mormon involvement with Prop 8. For the typical non-atheist God-fearing person it is extremely offensive and hate-filled. Congratulations No Crowd, you are showing the world what type of people you really are.
Friday, November 21, 2008
There's been a lot of outrage from the No on Proposition 8 camp since California voters approved a ban on gay marriage. But until now, there has been less soul searching about what went wrong. But Terry Leftgoff, founder of the Gay and Lesbian Business Assn. of Santa Barbara, has a thoughtful piece on WeHo News looking at how the opposition to Proposition 8 fell short. It did, he says, on several levels: A mixed message, failing to respond to attacks from Yes on 8 forces, little black and Latino outreach. A snippet:
The No on 8 campaign began by allowing the Yes on 8 proponents to define the debate and it was never able to recover. This violated the first rule of political campaigns, which is to never let your opponent define you first. After a near fatal slow start, every emotional attack ad from Yes on 8 received a tepid intellectual response from No on 8. That's true. The only response I heard to any of the Yes campaign's concerns was "that will never happen" or "you're just using fear tactics." Even the supposed legal analyses I read from the No Crowd simply quoted the law and said "under the law it will not happen." They completely ignored the slippery slope concern. This violated another rule of political campaigns, which is to quickly respond in equal kind to an attack so it is not allowed to penetrate the public mind. Instead of running a diverse multi-message campaign of persuasion, the media message was emotionless, monotone and uncompelling. Are you kidding me? I actually thought the media message from the No Crowd was the best part of their campaign. I especially liked the commercials based on the Microsoft v. Apple model. In short, the media messages failed to move or even educate voters about the issue and instead appealed to a single abstract principle -- equality -- that was not sufficiently persuasive or connected to the content of the proposition. Not just "equality" -- you also called us racists and bigots since afterall voting against same sex marriage is the equivalent of putting the Japanese internment camps or prohibiting blacks from marrying whites. I think what happened was that people saw through your disingenuous comparisons.
Ben Ehrenreich, writing in The Advocate, looks at whether No on 8 could have been run better. Lorri Jean of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center told him apathy was a problem:
Jean and others at the helm of the No on 8 campaign say they had a hard time awakening equivalent enthusiasm in the LGBT community, particularly because of the steady stream of polls showing Proposition 8 trailing by as much as 17 and 14 percentage points. “It was difficult raising money because of those polls,” Kors says, adding that the campaign’s internal numbers never reflected such comfortable margins of victory. “If we could have found a way to energize our community faster, we could have competed with them,” Jean says. “We experienced enormous complacency in our community until we finally put out the word that we were going down.” Well, now you have your energy -- all you needed to do was pick an easy target that is politically correct to stigmatize, i.e., the Mormons, and blame all of your woes on them. Next time around you should just run commercials saying how Mormons are evil and Prop 8 was just the result of Mormon money and Mormon effort.
"It could be a big step forward for Iowa and something Iowa could be proud of," said Justin Uebelhor, director of communications for One Iowa, an equality advocacy organization. "It is important for Iowa to take the lead on this."
Proponents of gay marriage spoke with the Press-Citizen editorial board Thursday, seeking editorial support in advance of a high-profile case next month.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Let's rethink Leviathan. The way I see it, Prop 8 was the necessary result of an over-intrusive, over-sized government. The piece below makes some similar points.
"Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." So provides Proposition 8 that overturned the four-to-three decision of the California Supreme Court, which gave (albeit temporarily) gay couples the same right to form family unions as heterosexual couples.
Today's harsh skirmishing over Prop 8 starts from the common assumption that the state has the right to issue marriage licenses, so that the only question worth asking is whether it can discriminate between gay and straight couples. But to the libertarian, the antecedent inquiry is whether the state has any proper role in issuing marriage licenses at all.
FREMONT — A legal challenge to the validity of Proposition 8 — the recently approved ballot measure calling for a state ban on same-sex marriage — will include the city of Fremont as a petitioner.
After a sharp debate, the City Council voted 4-1 on Tuesday to join a petition initiated by the city and county of San Francisco to invalidate the measure, which defines marriage as being only between a man and a woman.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The Christians, a group of Evangelical Protestants who regularly go to the predominantly homosexual Castro District to sing songs and pray with passers-by, say they were holding hands and singing "Amazing Grace" when a angry mob began to shove and kick them, steal their belongings, pour hot coffee on their faces, and sexually assault them.
- The request to stay Proposition 8 is DENIED. This means that Proposition 8 is in effect and gay couples may not get married any longer in California. This, of course, could change if the Supreme Court overturns Prop 8, but for now Prop 8 is valid.
- The Yes on 8 Campaign and other official proponents of Proposition 8 are permitted to intervene as respondents. This means they will have party status in the case and can file oppositions to the legal challenges.
- The issues to be briefed include: (1) Is Proposition 8 a revision or an amendment to the California Constitution? (2) Does Prop 8 violate the separation of powers doctrine under the California Constitution? (3) If Prop 8 is not unconstitutional, what happens to the same sex marriages performed before Prop 8 was passed?
The L.A. Times has written an article about the order here. The San Francisco Chronicle has a piece on the order here.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
What is a civil right?
A civil right is a "right" provided by a government. Such a "right" has no foundation in natural law. Civil rights are nothing more than "rights" created out of thin air by the Legislative body of a civil government. As such, "civil rights" can be invented, repealed, amended, altered, changed, and destroyed according to the social evolution of a society and in accordance with the governmental structure of that particular society. In a constitutional or democratic republic, therefore, "civil rights" are determined through majoritarian decisions.
What is an inalienable or natural right?
An "inalienable right" or "natural right" is a right that is founded on a source independent of government and society. It is a right with which every human being is born. The Founders of the United States were intimately familiar with "natural rights" and appealed to Providence as the creator of such rights.
"Natural rights" are nondiscriminatory. Every human, regardless of race, creed, color, gender, and yes, even sexual orientation, is naturally endowed with such rights. Western Civilization, particularly English and French political philosophy, has identified three basic natural or inalienable rights: life, liberty, and property.
Marriage: Civil or Natural Right?
Marriage originated as a private institution; it is not a government creation. For Christians, Jews, and other religions, marriage was created by God, beginning with the marriage of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. For millenia, no married couple needed government approval for their marriage. Today, however, the State has interjected itself into marriage by requiring couples to obtain a marriage license.
The State's involvement in marriage creates a dichotomy of rights. Under natural law no one is born with the "right" to have a government recognize a marriage. Natural law, more specifically the right to liberty, only gives each individual the right to marry another person (who consents obviously) through a private means. Thus, under natural law homosexuals have the natural right to enter into a union through a private means with another of the same sex and can call it "marriage." Homosexuals (and heterosexuals for that matter) do not, however, have a natural right to have a State recognize their private "marriage." "Marriage," therefore, is a "natural right" in a private context, but it becomes a "civil right" only in so far as society says it is.
How does this apply to Proposition 8?
The No Crowd claims that they have a "civil right" to marry the person of their choice, but they are equating a "civil right" with a "natural right" which they do not have. Thus, marriage is a "civil right" and as such it is subject to being defined by society. Proposition 8 defined the "civil right" of marriage in California and that "civil right" may be exercised by anyone who wishes to marry one other person of the opposite sex.
When society determines that same sex marriage is a "civil right," then the No Crowd will be on solid legal and philosophical grounds, but government-endorsed marriage never will and never can be an inalienable right.
Additionally, three more amicus letter briefs were filed in opposition to the lawsuits.
Check the California Supreme Court's Proposition 8 filings page for more details.
As the proponents of same-sex marriage rights determine the proper response to Proposition 8, it is illuminating to compare Colorado's rejection of "gay rights" with California's repudiation of "gay marriage."
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Also, Gay Mafia, be on notice that wherever your money is, mine will be countering it (except I'm not a millionaire so I guess I'll have to join tens of thousands of normal people to counter your financing of the destruction of moral society).
A few weeks before Virginia's legislative elections in 2005, a researcher working on behalf of a clandestine group of wealthy, gay political donors telephoned a Virginia legislator named Adam Ebbin. Then, as now, Ebbin was the only openly gay member of the state's general assembly. The researcher wanted Ebbin's advice on how the men he represented could spend their considerable funds to help defeat anti-gay Virginia politicians.....
There were five benefactors: David Bohnett of Beverly Hills, Calif., who in 1999 sold the company he had co-founded, Geo-Cities, to Yahoo! in a deal worth $5 billion on the day it was announced; Timothy Gill of Denver, another tech multimillionaire; James Hormel of San Francisco, grandson of George, who founded the famous meat company; Jon Stryker of Kalamazoo, Mich., the billionaire grandson of the founder of medical-technology giant Stryker Corp.; and Henry van Ameringen, whose father Arnold Louis van Ameringen started a Manhattan-based import company that later became the mammoth International Flavors & Fragrances.
The five men spent $138,000 in Virginia that autumn, according to state records compiled by the nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project. Of that, $48,000 went directly to the candidates Ebbin recommended. Ebbin got $45,000 for his PAC, the Virginia Progress Fund, so he could give to the candidates himself. Another $45,000 went to Equality Virginia, a gay-rights group that was putting money into many of the same races.
On Election Day that year, the Virginia legislature stayed solidly in Republican hands; the Democratic Party netted just one seat. But that larger outcome masked an intriguing development: anti-gay conservatives had suffered considerably. For instance, in northern Virginia, a Democrat named Charles Caputo (who received $6,500 from Ebbin's PAC) had beaten a Christian youth minister, Chris Craddock, by an unexpectedly large margin, with a vote of 56% to 41%. Three other candidates critical of gays were also defeated, including delegate Richard Black, who had long opposed gay equality in Richmond. Black had had no single donation as large as the $20,000 that Ebbin's PAC gave his opponent. "This was my ninth election campaign, and it wasn't unusual to have homosexuals involved," says Black, who now practices law. "But it was different, certainly, in degree. There had not been a concerted influx of money from homosexuals as a group before."
The group that donated the money to use against Black and the others is known as the Cabinet, although you won't find that name on a letterhead or even on the Internet. Aside from Bohnett, 52; Gill, 55; Hormel, 75; Stryker, 50; and Van Ameringen, 78, the other members of the Cabinet are Jonathan Lewis (49-year-old grandson of Joseph, co-founder of Progressive Insurance) and Linda Ketner, 58, heiress to the Food Lion fortune, who is running for Congress against GOP Representative Henry Brown Jr. of South Carolina.
George W. Dent, Jr., wrote of this conflict in the Kentucky Law Journal, “[T]his war is not amenable to compromise. [T]he goal of the gay movement is not primarily economic; most gays already have above-average incomes. The goal, rather, is approval of homosexuality as legally and socially equal to heterosexuality. Because of the tremendous influence of religion in America , this goal cannot be achieved unless religious groups either surrender, thus affirming this equality or, at least, those that do not are reduced to a despised minority compelled to keep its views to itself. In other words, the goal of the gay movement is to confine its opponents in the closet.”...
In the Bureau command post there was a large screen television displaying scenes from the protest outside the Los Angeles temple. Imagine my surprise, when angry protestors began rushing the closed temple gates, and I heard an officer in the command post say, “I hope they burn that place to the ground.”
Imagine my even stronger surprise when another officer replied, “They better hope they don't get through the gates, because the Mormons have an army in a bunker under the temple that will come out and kill them all.”
That push helped the initiative win narrow passage on election day. And it has made the Mormon Church, which for years has striven to be seen as part of the American mainstream, a political target.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
You can read their petition here.
Owners of a Web site that specializes in advice and information for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say their site was attacked the day following passage of Proposition 8 by people they believe opposed the measure.
Scott Proctor of Meridian magazine said the site was hacked into early Nov. 5, and its home page was replaced with "horrible, explicit lesbians films placed all over the cover." Engineers took the site down immediately after the break-in was discovered, he said.
Also, you will notice on the comments section of this story that the moderator stated "Because of the high number of comments submitted on this story that contain threats or references to violence, no more comments will be posted on this story." This is truly sad that we have come to such a divide.
The LDS temples in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles received envelopes on Thursday containing a white powdery substance. So did the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization based in New Haven, Conn. Both organizations were heavy backers of Proposition 8, the measure in California that narrowly passed Nov. 4, banning same-sex marriage.
The FBI said it is a "strong possibility" that all three letters are linked, but federal investigators reiterated they have no information to point a finger of blame at the proposition and its opponents.
"The evidence does not lead to that right now and it would be irresponsible to say anything otherwise," Becerra said.
A PROJECT OF CALIFORNIA RENEWAL
NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE CALIFORNIA - YES ON 8, SPONSORED BY NATIONAL
ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE
|YES ON PROPOSITION 8, SPONSORED BY CAPITOL RESOURCE FAMILY IMPACT||$71,383.88|
CALIFORNIANS FOR MARRIAGE, YES ON PROPOSITION 8, SPONSORED BY THE ALLIANCE FOR MARRIAGE FOUNDATION
TOTAL FOR PROPOSITION 8
|NO ON 8, EQUALITY FOR ALL||$26,683,254.71|
NO ON 8 - EQUALITY CALIFORNIA
LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS AGAINST 8
HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN CALIFORNIA MARRIAGE PAC - NO ON PROP 8
NO ON PROPOSITION 8, CAMPAIGN FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY, A PROJECT OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL
LIBERTIES UNION OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
NO ON 8 - MARRIAGE EQUALITY USA
NO ON 8, NATIONAL CENTER FOR LESBIAN RIGHTS SOCIAL JUSTICE FUND
CALIFORNIANS AGAINST ELIMINATING BASIC RIGHTS, NO ON PROP. 8
TASK FORCE CALIFORNIA COMMITTEE - NO ON 8 - SPONSORED BY THE NATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN TASK FORCE FOUNDATION/ACTION FUND
So the No Crowd raised 46% more than the Yes on 8 Crowd and they are complaining that Mormon money is what tipped the scales. You may need to reassess that argument.
"Since the people of California voted to reaffirm the sanctity of traditional marriage between a man and a woman on November 4, 2008, places of worship have been targeted by opponents of Proposition 8 with demonstrations and, in some cases, vandalism. People of faith have been intimidated for simply exercising their democratic rights. These are not actions that are worthy of the democratic ideals of our nation. The end of a free and fair election should not be the beginning of a hostile response in America.
"The Church is keenly aware of the differences of opinion on this difficult and sensitive matter. The reasons for this principled stand in defense of marriage have already been articulated elsewhere. However, some of what we have seen since Californians voted to pass Proposition 8 has been deeply disappointing.
"Attacks on churches and intimidation of people of faith have no place in civil discourse over controversial issues. People of faith have a democratic right to express their views in the public square without fear of reprisal. Efforts to force citizens out of public discussion should be deplored by people of goodwill everywhere.
"We call upon those who have honest disagreements on this issue to urge restraint upon the extreme actions of a few that are further polarizing our communities and urge them to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other."
Previously, California had allowed same-sex marriage.
The rally is part of a nationwide movement. Rallies will be held at the same time Saturday in all 50 states at city halls and state capitals to protest "Prop 8" and other similar measures that were passed in Arizona and Florida.
The California Supreme Court has asked state Attorney General Jerry Brown to reply by Monday to lawsuits challenging the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage - a sign that the justices are taking the cases seriously and will not dispose of them quickly.
"Protesters are expected to unload on the Mormon Church, whose members gave more than $20 million to the Proposition 8 campaign, according to estimates by opponents quoted by the Los Angeles Times last week. California does not track donors' religious affiliation."
It doesn't appear that the protest will be held in front of the LDS Temple in Bellevue, so I'm not sure what it means that the protesters are "expected to unload on the Mormon Church."
I love the guy in this video who says that Prop 8 is a matter of "human rights." Does this guy even know what a "human right" is? I wonder if any of these people even know who John Locke, Thomas Acquinas, Rousseau are let alone whether they've read them. The No Crowd just makes up rights as they go along.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
. . . Even before the groups opposing Prop 8 conceded on November 6, three lawsuits had been filed in the California Supreme Court, arguing that the measure had been invalidly enacted and asking the court to issue an order blocking it from taking effect. On November 10, a spokesman for the court announced that it would make a statement about the lawsuits this week.
A fourth lawsuit, filed in the federal district court in Santa Ana, on behalf of a gay male couple who married over the summer, argues that Prop 8 violates the US Constitution, though news reports were vague about the specific theory laid out . . .
Jeff Jacoby writes in the Boston Globe:
. . . Well, let’s see. The civil rights once denied to black Americans included the right to register as a voter, the right to cast a ballot, the right to use numerous public facilities, the right to get a fair hearing in court, the right to send their children to an integrated public school, and the right to equal opportunity in housing and employment. Have gay people been denied any of these rights? Have they been forced to sit in the back of buses? Confined to segregated neighborhoods? Barred from serving on juries? Subjected to systematic economic exploitation?
Plainly, declining to change the timeless definition of marriage deprives no one of “the civil rights once denied” to blacks, and it is an absurdity to claim otherwise. It is also a poisonous slur: For if opposing same-sex marriage is like opposing civil rights, then voters who backed Proposition 8 are no better than racists, the moral equivalent of those who turned the fire hoses on blacks in Birmingham in 1963 . . .
Californians Against Hate, an independent nonprofit organization committed to shining the spotlight on hefty donors to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign, upped the ante against the LDS Church today.
The group filed a complaint with California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), claiming The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints failed to report nonmonetary contributions that helped pass the measure - one that defines marriage as between a man and a woman, issuing a huge blow to the movement for same-sex marriages.
Article 18 of the California Constitution provides authority for the California Constitution to be amended and revised.
Section 3 of Article 18 permits the "electors" to amend the constitution via initiative.
The only method provided in the Constitution by which it can be revised, however, is set forth in sections 1 and 2 of article XVIII which permit revision only by way of:
- a 2/3 vote of the Legislature to present the revision to the electorate for a vote; and
- a 2/3 vote of the Legislature to hold a constitutional convention and subsequent ratification by the people.
The Supremes, however, have given us some guidance. In Livermore v. Waite, 102 Cal. 113 (1894) the Court said that an "amendment implies such an addition or change within the lines of the original instrument as will effect an improvement, or better carry out the purpose for which it is framed." (102 Cal. at 119.) A revision, on the other hand, is:
an enactment which is so extensive in its provisions as to change directly the "substantial entirety" of the Constitution by the deletion or alteration of numerous existing provisions...[but] even a relatively simple enactment may accomplish such far reaching changes in the nature of our basic governmental plan as to amount to a revision also.(Amador Valley Joint Union High School District v. State Bd. of Equalization, 22 Cal.3d 208, 223 (1978).)
In the instances when the California Supreme Court has found a law to be a revision rather than an amendment, however, the law generally included multiple new laws. For example, in McFadden v. Jordan, 32 Cal. 2d 330 (1948) the initiative at issue actually proposed to add a new Article which consisted of 12 separate sections divided into some 208 subsections set forth in more than 21,000 words. At that time, the California Constitution only had 55,000 words. So, the initiative sought to increase the Constitution's word count by approximately 40%.
Thus, the No Crowd is arguing that Proposition 8 constitutes a revision rather than an amendment and should be tossed out because it was not approved by 2/3 of the Legislature before being submitted to the electorate.
This is the real issue: Why does ANYONE require a State-Issued license, blood test and fee in order to have a religious ceremony for the purpose of promising to spend their lives together? Why is there a group of subsidies and tax breaks in place for the benefit of people who chose to partake in this life choice? Why is there a Government in existence with the power to make such laws and decisions and then set them in such a way that we end up with a contentious issue that so divides us and creates such resentment and intolerance?
This entire issue and all its side effects are the fault of The State. The State set up certain subsidies for married couples. The State failed to make these subsidies and legal rights available to gay couples. The State allowed campaigns to be waged to “ban” gay marriage and The State allowed challenges to be brought before its judges who overturned the bans. The result? More resentment and dischord.
My point is, WITHOUT THE STATE, WE WOULD NOT BE HAVING THIS ARGUMENT. People would be free to associate in any way that they so please without interference from clerks, judges, lawyers, legislators, or tax collectors. People could marry or not marry without having to consider the tax benefits or penalties associated with such a decision. The transferability of a retirement account or health plan would be negotiated between spouse and employer, and there would be no Leviathan to come around and steal 50% of it in the event of a spouse’s death.
It is genius, really, how The State has set us against each other in a way that acts to legitimize its almighty authority. You see, every time you get red in the face towards someone who disagrees with your position, you don’t win the argument. Neither does your opponent. The State wins, for you have been discussing how the Boss should treat his underlings when you should have been discussing nothing more than how free people should treat each other.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted this afternoon to join a lawsuit filed by the City of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Clara County challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative voters passed by a narrow margin this month.
The vote was carried by the board’s three Democrats: Supervisors Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky, who proposed the board join the lawsuit, and Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke, who voted in support.
"Many of those organizing the protests this week say they are voicing a sense of outrage and disappointment that California voters approved a measure that took away the right, granted by the California Supreme Court last spring, of same-sex couples to marry."
Exactly, the No Crowd is fighting for an invented "right" because they have no natural or fundamental right to the state's endorsement of their relationship.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Statement of Ron Prentice, Chairman, ProtectMarriage.com – Yes on 8
“In last Tuesday’s election, the people of California placed the traditional definition of marriage into the state Constitution. This victory would not have been possible without the support of our 70,000 contributors and over 100,000 dedicated volunteers. It was accomplished with the strong participation of about 80% of California voters, or nearly 14 million people participating in this expression of the People’s will. It is the same process that resulted in the historic election of Barack Obama as President of the United States – with about the same percentage of the national vote as received by Proposition 8 in California.
“Since Proposition 8’s victory, a series of protests against churches, small businesses and individual supporters of traditional marriage have taken place in cities across the state. Tragically, some opponents of Prop. 8 who claim to cherish tolerance and civil rights are unabashedly trampling on the rights of others. Protests and boycotts have taken place against a Hispanic restaurant owner in Los Angeles, African American religious leaders in the Bay Area, and a musical theater director in Sacramento, among many others.
“As a diverse group representing many cultural backgrounds, our coalition stands together in solidarity with those whose property and rights are being attacked for the simple act of supporting traditional marriage. No matter your opinion of Proposition 8, we should all agree that it is wrong to intimidate and harass churches, businesses and individuals for participating in the democratic process. We call on our governmental leaders to urge all citizens to respect the rights of everyone to express their views on marriage without fear of reprisal and recrimination.
“ProtectMarriage.com also wants you to know that a strong legal defense of Proposition 8 is being prepared. We anticipated that Prop 8’s passage would result in advocates of same-sex marriage turning to the courts to attempt to overturn the People’s affirmation of traditional marriage as a societal good. We will be announcing our legal strategy next week, but rest assured that we will vigorously defend the People’s will to enshrine traditional marriage in the state Constitution.
“We are extremely grateful to the 5.7 million voters who stood up to support traditional marriage, and to all those who gave generously of their time and resources to protect the institution of marriage. We look forward to continuing to work with you to protect marriage in California and ensure that the People’s vote is respected.”
Connecticut began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples today. Read about it here.
Al Mohler discusses the Proposition 8 aftermath:
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi told The San Francisco Chronicle that voters just have misunderstood the measure. In a stunning demonstration of political condescension, Rep. Pelosi argued: “Unfortunately, I think people thought they were making a statement about what their view of same-sex marriage was . . . . I don’t know if it was clear that this meant that we are amending the Constitution to diminish freedom in our state.” If anything, the wording of the proposition, controversial in itself, makes the Speaker’s point even more ludicrous. Is she seriously suggesting that the voters of her home state cannot be taken seriously when they defend marriage? It appears so.
"Is a compromise between religious liberty and gay civil rights regarding marriage possible - and if not, which of the two is more important?"
Read the panelists' (which include legal scholars, theologians, and others) responses here. Some of the responses are very scary. In sum, most feel that a clash is inevitable unless religion changes with the times.
"To the degree a faith belief can tolerate differences and be able to interpret its scriptures in modern times, without sacrificing its core values, than compromise is possible."---Lillian Pinkus, community volunteer, Anti Defamation League activist (Jewish);
"So cooler heads must prevail and religious liberty may have to be compromised to avoid discrimination against LGBT people."---Daniel Kanter, minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Dallas
Protesters who entered the Creyts Road church along with worshippers surprised the congregation when they stood up during the service, threw fliers at churchgoers and shouted slogans such as "It's OK to be gay," and "Jesus was a homo," according to David Williams, communications director at the church. His father, Dave Williams, is the church's longtime pastor. He was not preaching at the church Sunday.
Scott Eckern stepped down from his job at the California Musical Theater in Sacramento after some gay and lesbian activists called for a theater boycott.
He said in a statement that he is leaving "after prayerful consideration to protect the organization and to help the healing in the local theatergoing and creative community."
Eckern said he "chose to act upon my belief that the traditional definition of marriage should be preserved" but had no idea his contribution would generate such controversy. He said his sister is a lesbian in a domestic partnership, which he understands to carry the same legal rights as marriage.
Supporters of Proposition 8 won the election but now are frustrated because they are still fighting for their cause.
A week after a majority of voters passed the controversial measure to ban same-sex marriage, the conflict continues – in the courts, at protests and in personal attacks.
The California Supreme Court's surprising announcement that it will quickly review the legality of Proposition 8, banning gay marriage, has prompted growing speculation that the four judges who found a right to gay marriage in the state Constitution in a May ruling will quickly throw Prop. 8 out. If that happens, watch out for a "barn-burner of an election -- the biggest thing this state has ever seen," says recall election guru Ted Costa.
Costa says he's already been contacted by some of the folks who would seek to recall Ronald George, Joyce Kennard, Kathryn Werdegar and Carlos Moreno if Prop. 8 is scrapped. He thinks it's premature and risky because talk of a recall "would just (bleep) off the judges."
Costa also doesn't sound like he's too thrilled about such a recall, saying it wouldn't be "healthy." Citing all the financial turmoil in California, he said, "If someone's going to do some recalling, that should be the focus."
But Costa sounds certain such a recall would happen and agreed that it would be no problem at all for gay marriage opponents to quickly gather the signatures of 12 percent of the electorate to force a recall election targeting George, Kennard, Werdegar and Moreno. He said supporters of Prop. 8 such as the Knights of Columbus, the Mormon Church and other traditional religious groups all had "massive" resources to bring to bear.
He doesn't think the state Supreme Court will overturn Prop. 8. "I gotta believe they'll uphold the initiative process." But if the four justices do, Costa says expect an amazing spectacle.
I agree. I think literally hundreds of millions of dollars would be spent on the recall. Gay marriage opponents see Prop. 8 as akin to a last stand preventing a global movement toward acceptance of gay marriage and will go all out. Gay marriage supporters, for their part, will no longer accept incremental progress or "civil unions."
At least it would be good for the California economy.
[Originally posted here.]
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Reporting from San Francisco and Los Angeles -- Anti-discrimination groups and bar associations have joined 44 state legislators in calling on the California Supreme Court to overturn the anti-gay marriage initiative voters passed last week.
In letters to the court, the Anti-Defamation League and other groups sided with lawsuits that said Proposition 8, which reinstated a ban on same-sex marriage, amounted to a sweeping revision of the state Constitution instead of a more limited amendment.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata and incoming President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg signed the friend of the court brief, filed with the state Supreme Court.
San Francisco, CA – Today Liberty Counsel is filing a motion to intervene to defend against three lawsuits filed at the California Supreme Court by same-sex marriage advocates. The lawsuits, which were filed last week, are asking the Court to overturn the California Marriage Protection Act (Proposition 8) recently passed by California voters. Liberty Counsel represents the Campaign for California Families.
Same-sex marriage advocates erroneously argue that Proposition 8 was an illegal constitutional revision. But a revision covers multiple subjects, whereas an amendment is a single subject, as in this case. Moreover, the amendment was in the process long before the California Supreme Court’s decision in May 2008. The same-sex marriage advocates argue it violates the equal protection clause of the California Constitution, which they say protects minorities' rights against the majority vote. Proposition 8 opponents are requesting California to withhold issuing all marriage licenses, including licenses for heterosexual couples. The lawsuits were filed by the ACLU, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, Santa Clara County, the city of San Francisco, the city of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles lawyer, Gloria Allred, on behalf of a lesbian couple.
Liberty Counsel's motion to intervene asks the Court for permission to join as a party in all three cases on behalf of Campaign for California Families. The Amendment passed with 52% of the votes and states: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Now that it has been passed, the Amendment will nullify the 4-3 ruling of the California Supreme Court issued on May 15.Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: "The proponents of same-sex marriage have thrown a 'Hail Mary' pass with no receivers down field. The law suit seeking to block Proposition 8 is patently frivolous. The people have a right to amend their constitution. It is amazing how much effort has been put in this battle to keep the people from deciding the future of marriage. It makes no sense that four judges can re-write the historic definition of marriage and more than 5 million people cannot restore it to its common understanding as the union of one man and one woman."
[Original posted here. Read about Liberty Counsel at www.lc.org]
The No Crowd also protested in from of Saddleback Church in Orange County for Pastor Rick Warren's support of Prop 8. Read about that here.
Jim, Rick, welcome aboard.
See that webpage here.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
"It's unfortunate, obviously, but it's not the end," Schwarzenegger said in an interview on CNN this morning. "I think that we will again maybe undo that, if the court is willing to do that, and then move forward from there and again lead in that area."
The unfolding street scenes underscored the racial and religious tensions that have surfaced since Tuesday's vote threw into question the legality of 18,000 marriages of gay and lesbian couples and foreclosed the option for any more.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
OAKLAND, Nov. 9, 2008 - Proposition 8 opponents will converge at the Oakland Mormon Temple at Noon on Sunday, November 9th, to promote better relations between the LGBT community and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
"It was time to turn the other cheek," said organizer Tim DeBenedictis. "Many in of our community were deeply hurt by the passage of proposition 8, and are disappointed that the Mormon church supported it - especially since the church was once persecuted for its own beliefs on marriage."
"We are meeting at the Temple on a day that it is closed. Our intent is not to disturb church-goers. Our goal is to mend fences and build bridges, so that all Californians can achieve marriage equality under the law," said DeBenedictis.
“Catholics stand in solidarity with our Mormon brothers and sisters in support of traditional marriage — the union of one man and one woman — that has been the major building block of Western Civilization for millennia.
“The ProtectMarriage coalition, which led the successful campaign to pass Proposition 8, was an historic alliance of people from every faith and ethnicity. LDS were included — but so were Catholics and Jews, Evangelicals and Orthodox, African-Americans and Latinos, Asians and Anglos.
“Bigoted attacks on Mormons for the part they played in our coalition are shameful and ignore the reality that Mormon voters were only a small part of the groundswell that supported Proposition 8.
“As the former bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, I can attest to the fact that followers of the Mormon faith are a good and generous people with a long history of commitment to family and giving to community causes.
“I personally decry the bigotry recently exhibited towards the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — coming from the opponents of Proposition 8, who ironically, have called those of us supporting traditional marriage intolerant.
“I call upon the supporters of same-sex marriage to live by their own words — and to refrain from discrimination against religion and to exercise tolerance for those who differ from them. I call upon them to accept the will of the people of California in the passage of Proposition 8.”
Remind me how this has anything to do with a city government.
SANTA CRUZ -- City leaders could be joining other cities around the state in a lawsuit to challenge the passage of Proposition 8 -- the successful measure that took away the right of same-sex couples to marry -- on the grounds the measure is unconstitutional.
"It's an important issue and the city needs to play a role," said Mayor Ryan Coonerty, who hopes to bring the proposal before the City Council at its Nov. 25 meeting.