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gonediving

You all know this already: the CA Supreme Court will issue its decision on the constitutional challenge to proposition 8 and on what will become of the legal marriages entered by 36,000 people tomorrow at 10 am PST.

Here is what is happening tomorrow night: Day of the Decision. On Saturday, everyone will be meeting “in the middle” of the state…Fresno (which, by the way, has a happening LGBT film festival every year, so don’t totally discount its scene). Here is the info on that: Meet in the Middle. (So Cal folks check out Orange County and Long Beach events.)

Fortunately or unfortunately, my wife and I will be on a remote island in the Caribbean for the next week. Though we wish we could be with you during this historic time, we will relish the opportunity to get away from the struggle and, for a brief time, remember why we are fighting so hard.

With love and in solidarity,

Lindsey

There is a lot of talk about the idea of calling all civil marriages “civil unions.” People wanting to couple officially, straight or gay, could get a civil union contract with the state. They would then be free to pursue a “marriage” at their chosen religious institution. The idea is that the state can satisfy the issue of equality while religions are free to only marry who they so choose. This is being called “getting the state out of the marriage business.”

There was a discussion on this point held on Patt Morrison’s show on KPCC yesterday because a group of UCSB students are collecting signatures to put an initiative on the ballot that would remove the word “marriage” from the California Constitution. Obviously, this would cause problems with Californian’s trying to reconcile our Constitution with the US Constitution. While this sounds like somewhat of a reasoned compromise, there are many important issues that arise.

The marriage/civil union discussion seems to incorrectly presume two points. First, same sex marriage is a newly constructed unit that is different from opposite sex marriage. The truth is, gay and lesbian people have been marrying each other for millennia. Indeed, these marriages occurred and were legally recognized in antiquity. Many same sex couples get married in churches within their faith traditions. These marriages are not illegal; they are *ignored* by the state.

The wording of Prop 8 requires that the state continue to ignore these marriages. So if Prop 8 is upheld, even if the state then “got out of the marriage business” by only offering civil union contracts, the religious marriages of straight couples could be recognized as such while the religious marriages of gay and lesbian couples would continue to be ignored.

The second incorrect presumption is that if the state recognizes the marriages of same sex couples, religious people or institutions will in some way be harmed. Same sex couples and families are harmed by the state (and the federal government) ignoring their relationships. The state recognizing these relationships provides remedy to this harm. The religious institutions that feel strongly against gay people and/or gay marriage are not affected by either outcome. They will continue to enjoy the same religious freedom they have now. Rightly, the religions that honor marriage commitments between gay and lesbian people will begin to enjoy religious freedom that is *equal* to the majority religion.

The idea that the rule of law should be dictated by bare majorities represents nothing more than the quickest road to fascism. It is not truthful to the founding and ruling principles of this country–it is not the American way. The American way is that government shall equally rule all people. Just because some people don’t like other people doesn’t make the unpopular group less of a citizen.

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The deadline for briefs to be filed with the California Supreme Court in the case to overturn Proposition 8 has come and gone. The court has accepted several amicus, or “Friend of the Court,” briefs, including one filed by several members of the state’s ultra-conservative, Orange County.

Ever since the controversial ballot measure stripped rights from a minority group in California, Orange County residents have been forming grass roots coalitions that support equal rights for all. Upstart, Orange County Equality Coalition (OCEC), has hundreds of new members organizing around community education, faith based coalition building, political campaigning, and legal advocacy. OCEC’s legal committee teamed up with Chapman University Law School’s LGBT group, Outlaw, to spearhead the drafting of an amicus brief supporting the petitioner’s request that the court overturn Proposition 8.

This filing is momentous not just for conservative Orange County, but also in response to an earlier filing sponsored by the head of Chapman’s law school, John Eastman, in support of Proposition 8. TheGreatestofThese wrote about Eastman’s filing in a previous post and blogged about the Dean’s financial support for Proposition 8 here.

In spite of this, Chapman lawyers, faculty, staff, and students joined OCEC and other community organizations, as well as several community members, such as UC Irvine law school Dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, in this filing. All in all, the brief includes over 70 named Amici, representing more than 500 people. Of themselves, they say this:

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The five main arguments put forth in the brief are as follows:

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Those who penned the brief are far smarter than I, so I will let the document speak for itself. Let me just point out that the DOMA section (#4) directly tackles an argument put forth in Eastman’s brief; the first few arguments (#1 & 2) deal handily with the perversion of history set forth in the anti-equality filings; and the Constitutional Oath argument (#5) presents a completely new angle from which to view Prop 8. It reads, in part:

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amicusarticle_4It goes on to say:

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Amen.

The entire brief has been attached to this website as a PDF. You can also read the declarations PDF here—these are the personal stories of some of the people (amici) who signed onto this filing.

Good to know there’s still some LOVE in the OC.

UPDATE: The entire brief has been posted on the California Supreme Court’s Prop 8 Filings page. Scroll down to “Individual Chapman University Organizations et al., in Support of Petitioners” to read the brief. The declarations are below the next heading and named “Appendix in Support of Amicus Curaie Brief of Individual Chapman University Organizations et al.,.”

The Obama sellout/Warren assault continues, and the media discussion has begun to digress even further. Now they say that people of “differing social opinions” should all be given equal time. Of course, the fact that there are no LGBT representatives being given any time in the inauguration notwithstanding, Warren is getting a lot of time. I do not consider my dignity an appropriate topic for “social discussion.” However, I do think it is funny that Warren is now saying homosexuality is “natural,” just like it’s natural that he wants to sleep “with every beautiful woman” he sees. Yikes.

california_rainbow1In a bit of good news California Attorney General, Jerry Brown, surprised everybody by filing a brief AGAINST Prop 8. Brown was never a supporter of Prop 8, but once it was passed by voters, he felt it was his duty to defend it as a matter of the sate. Per the LA Times:

But after studying the matter, he says, he came to the conclusion that gay rights activists were correct in arguing that the proposition amounted to a constitutional revision, instead of a more limited amendment.

Brown added: “Proposition 8 must be invalidated because the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights without compelling justification.”

The article also reminds us who will be leading the argument for the Pro-Prop 8 Side: Kenneth Starr. Since his Monica Lewinsky, panty-sniffing days, Ken has become Dean of Pepperdine Law School in Malibu, CA. The brief that he co-wrote with the yes on H8 campaign argues that the court should invalidate the marriages of 18,000 lesbians and gay men during the period they were legal in the state. Here is the brief, posted on Pam’s House Blend before it is even up on the CASC site…I’m in awe, Pam.

It is no surprise that this was the ultimate goal of the campaign. I am surprised that they are doing it now–it puts before the court such an extreme position. I thought they would have waited. Then again, maybe it is an attempt to let the court try to appease both sides (H8 stands, but so do the 18,000). Of course, they may be tempting the court to throw out all of this nonsense so that they can raise a bunch of money for their activist judges fund. Double speak at its most sinister…who knows…who cares.

Since we are all surrounded by the demoralizing voices that continue to rage against us, I propose comfort in the way of our common experience. My fair ones, steal away with me into the stories of our lives. Here again, from the current appeal before the California Supreme Court to overturn Prop 8:

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We all know that allowing same gender couples to protect each other and our relationships does nothing to hurt other couples. This is not the destruction of anything. No worlds will collapse.  Separate is not equal, but we will win…because our motivation is love.

…It’s called criminalize the symptoms while you spread the disease.*

This weekend was full of all the push and pull that comes when 10 million people split, almost right down the middle, on an issue that feels so important to both sides. Prop 8 opponents took to the streets again in California, and around the world, this Saturday to express their outrage. On Friday, supporters of Proposition 8 held a press conference decrying what they called “lawlessness, harassment, trampling of civil rights and now domestic terrorism.”

The charge of domestic terrorism refers to two envelopes containing a mysterious but harmless, white powder that were received at a Mormon temple in Los Angeles and the Mormon headquarters in Salt Lake City. Of course, there is no proof that these envelopes were sent by anyone other than the Mormon Church itself, the President, or anybody else. The Utah Pride Center said in a statement “It is false to conclude that yesterday’s suspicious package came from gay protesters. Overwhelmingly, gay and allied Utahns have expressed their pain, frustration and commitment to securing rights through peaceful demonstrations and marches.”

The supporters of Proposition 8 contend that they are being “harassed” by “crybabies” who cannot accept the outcome of a “democratic process.” Clearly, we live in an era of double speak where the “democratic process” is perverted to mean voting on initiatives that restrict the civil rights of a minority group, a time when the efforts of the minority group to protest its own mistreatment are labeled as “intolerance and bigotry” that tramples the “civil rights” of the oppressor. Apparently, the Yes on 8 campaign can no longer trample on the rights of gays and lesbians because those rights have been taken away.

The group’s leader, he whose name will not be spoken, said “They don’t have a right to blacklist and boycott our supporters.” To this I must argue, yes, actually, they do. Defamatory statements notwithstanding, boycotting businesses that supported the measure is completely legal. Using a ballot measure to strip equality from a single minority group, now that is unprecedented.

If the court does not overturn proposition 8, many people are suggesting that a ballot initiative to repeal it be placed before voters in an upcoming election. As a person whose life is being decidedly changed by a mere check mark, I must say that we should not be allowed to vote on the legality of each other’s existence. It is dangerous. Although it is me this time, it will just as soon be you.

*Quoted with so much love from “’Tis of Thee” by Ani Difranco. Ani, please write a song to comfort us. We are heartbroken.