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Photo courtesy of Mary Ann Lopez

This week the Orange County Equality Coalition, OCEC, held their first legal forum of the year, which featured constitutional law scholar and UCI Law School Dean, Erwin Chemerinsky. Dean Chemerinsky explained the legal journey of Proposition 8, California’s famed ballot initiative, from the time most of us stopped paying attention through now. There were 3, major, take away messages:




  1. Now is as good a time as any to take the marriage equality battle to federal court.
  2. When the question of whether or not the government can continue to discriminate against the marriages and families of LGBT people gets to the US Supreme Court, the answer will most likely be in the hands of one man: Justice Anthony Kennedy.
  3. If Prop 8 is overturned in the US District Court, where Judge Vaughn Walker is scheduled to release his decision this month, MARRIAGE EQUALITY COULD RETURN TO CALIFORNIA!!!

That’s right, my lovelies, as soon as next month, we could be getting LEGALLY married in California once again. Here’s how: Prop 8 is being challenged in the first level of federal court (US District). Evidence has been presented by both sides. Closing arguments will probably take place sometime this month. After that, Judge Walker will issue a ruling on whether Prop 8 violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection. If Prop 8 is overturned, marriage equality could be restored in California.

Of course, the pro-discrimination lawyers will likely appeal Prop 8’s overturning, and they may request that our marriages remain ignored until the issue is decided on appeal. But, get this, if the district court and the appellate court refuse to block marriage equality, then the haters can go to a representative of the US Supreme Court. Who, you ask, is the SCOTUS Justice that oversees the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals??? Well, it’s Anthony Kennedy.

Dean Chemerinsky also gave detailed projections on how the SCOTUS Justices would split on this issue and offered enlightened commentary on Anthony Kennedy’s record. Chemerinsky is simply amazing, and if you missed this legal forum, you really missed out. BUT, rumor has it their may be a video of the event online shortly. I will keep you posted.

OCEC’s next legal forum will focus on tax related issues for the LGBT community and will be held at Chapman University School of Law at the end of March.

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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

Here it is: the ever-anticipated, SoCal PRIDE events calendar! I have listed the major Pride events that I am aware of taking place this week in Long Beach and Orange County.

It’s time to be together; time to celebrate those who have gone before us and those who continue to fight for our right to love each other in peace. There will be parties, laughter, theater, music, roller-coasters, and a parade! There will be activism, organization, and much rebel-rousing, but, most importantly, there will be community. So blow off the bad economy, and come out to as many of these events as you can pack into your (possibly jobless) schedule. You will be glad you did.

LONG BEACH:

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May 8-10:  Seriously, if you have not yet taken in a film at this weekend’s festival, you are missing out. Screening in Long Beach’s famous Art Theater, which is worth seeing in and of itself, the festival packs a huge punch in a short weekend. Tomorrow is the last day, and it promises great things, including several features, documentaries, Q&A with directors, a special panel with CLEVE JONES, a closing party, and a night with Nikki Coldwater.  At $12-$15 per event, these film prices can’t be beat. Did I mention the Art Theater has a wine bar? Check out the event lineup here.

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May 14: The Laugh Factory in Downtown Long Beach presents: Laugh ‘Till You Tinkle staring Christine O’ Leary, Carlease, Jason Stuart, Lynda Montgomery, and your Host for the evening Sandy Seacrest. The show starts at 7:45, and tickets are $20 plus a two drink minimum. Tickets may be purchased online in advance at the Laugh Factory website.

May 15: Free Concert at Bixby Park: Bring your chairs and a picnic basket to enjoy this family friendly evening of inspirational music held at Bixby Park. Performing live: Marvin Matthews, Shawn Thomas, Praising Hands, Kim Yarbrough, South Coast Chorale. Bixby Park is located on Ocean Avenue between Junipero and Cherry. The concert starts at 6 pm.

pink_party_ad_pride_guide_cropped_400May 15: 2nd Annual Long Beach Pink Party: Long Beach Downtown Association helps to kick off PRIDE weekend by throwing a huge party right on Pine Avenue! Hosted by famed drag performer, Jewels Long Beach, the Pink Party lineup includes: Comedian, Alec Mapa, of ABC’s Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, Long Beach Drag Diva 2009 contest, and a few surprise special guests.  Live music will fill the streets with special guest DJs spinning on stage and a dance floor in the street. Plus, the newly-installed LED lighting throughout Downtown and along Pine Avenue will turn pink!

The official party goes from 7-11 pm on Pine Street between Broadway and 3rd Street. Plus, there is a price point for every pocketbook! Your options are:
Voluntary Donation: $10
Pink Pass: $20 (includes food and drink specials at participating restaurants)
VIP: $100 or more (includes food and drink specials and VIP tent access)
Broke as a Joke but Here for the Free Music: Priceless.

The Pink Party raises money for the Center Long Beach’s Mentoring Youth Through Empowerment (MYTE) Program, which serves Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth between the ages of 13-18.

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May 16 & 17: Long Beach PRIDE Festival: For $20/day, you can party with around 80,000 LGBTQI & Allies from 11 in the morning until 10 at night! Long Beach’s Pride Festival is one of the biggest in the country, and, in my opinion, it’s one of the best. The festival features almost as many dance tents as there are radio stations in LA, plus a main stage featuring headliners such as Smash Mouth, Jazmine Sullivan, Sara Bareilles, and Kat DeLuna. Click here for the complete entertainment lineup.

The best part of the PRIDE weekend, in my opinion, is the PARADE! Always on Sunday morning, the parade kicks of around 10:30 am at Temple Avenue and Ocean Blvd. and continues along Ocean until it reaches the festival entrance at Alamitos. Grand Marshall, this year, will be newly married, long-time activists Robin Tyler and Diane Olsen–of course, their marriage comes after 15 years together and almost as many years fighting with the state of California for recognition of their relationship.  These fabulous women were the original plaintiffs in what became known as the In re Marriage Cases, which led to the overturning of the state ban on recognition of gay and lesbian marriages. As if that isn’t enough, Political Grand Marshall is San Francisco Mayor and California Gubernatorial candidate, Gavin Newsome. Yes, that means Mr. Newsome will be at the parade.

The parade also features floats from over 200 community organizations. This usually includes LGBT police officers, fire fighters, active military service members, local churches, advocacy groups, and gay and lesbian owned and frequented businesses. Early risers are rewarded at Parade Central, where the music and entertainment start at 9:30 am.

Also this weekend, the Long Beach Playhouse is featuring Lanford Wilson’s “Fifth of July” about a gay Vietnam vet. You will get a $3 discount on tickets using the word “pride.” Also being featured is “Patti’s Place.” Written and directed by Long Beach’s own Debbie Rivas and produced by Long Beach famous gpromotion, this play is an interactive comedy presented in one act. It will be staged at 10 pm on Friday and Saturday and 4 pm on Sunday…and, IT”S FREE!!!!

May 19: PRIDE Late Night at the Aquarium of the Pacific – if you have not been to the Aquarium at night, you are really missing out. This event, thrown by the aquarium to celebrate PRIDE week in Long Beach, includes aquarium exhibits and activities, a no host cocktail lounge, and a queer scanvenger hunt! From 5 pm- 9 pm on Tuesday night, adults pay the children’s price of $11.95.

So there you have it, my pretties. Feel free to add to the list in the comments. I look forward to seeing you all there. HAPPY PRIDE!!!

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Last night, Lt. Dan Choi spoke to Rachel Maddow about his impending dismissal from the Army National Guard because he is gay. Lt. Choi told Maddow that he “intend(s) fully to fight it tooth and nail.”

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Lt. Choi is currently residing in Orange County, CA. He is a part of Men Alive, the gay men’s chorus, and a member of the Orange County Equality Coalition (OCEC), which is a newly formed OC organization dedicated to furthering equal rights for LGBT people. Lt. Choi participated in protests in Orange County against the passing of Proposition 8, which removed constitutional equal protection for gay and lesbian people. Lt. Choi also heads the organization, Knights Out, a group of LGBT graduates of the highly prestigious, US Military Academy, West Point.

In response to the news of Choi’s dismissal, OCEC mobilized a group of 50-60 protesters to assemble on the foot bridge between UC Irvine and University Center–where there is a military recruiting office (numbers per media reports and protester accounts). The protesters received gratitude during the protest from Choi, himself, via speakerphone.

The protests were covered by the OC Register and the Daily Pilot.

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Gay Marriage New England

In his own words, via The Huffington Post:

“I have followed closely the debate on this issue. I have listened to both sides, as they have presented their arguments during the public hearing and on the floor of the Maine Senate and the House of Representatives. I have read many of the notes and letters sent to my office, and I have weighed my decision carefully,” Governor Baldacci said. “I did not come to this decision lightly or in haste.”

“I appreciate the tone brought to this debate by both sides of the issue,” Governor Baldacci said. “This is an emotional issue that touches deeply many of our most important ideals and traditions. There are good, earnest and honest people on both sides of the question.”

“In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions,” Governor Baldacci said. “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”

“Article I in the Maine Constitution states that ‘no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor be denied the equal protection of the laws, nor be denied the enjoyment of that person’s civil rights or be discriminated against.'”

“This new law does not force any religion to recognize a marriage that falls outside of its beliefs. It does not require the church to perform any ceremony with which it disagrees. Instead, it reaffirms the separation of Church and State,” Governor Baldacci said.

“It guarantees that Maine citizens will be treated equally under Maine’s civil marriage laws, and that is the responsibility of government.”

“Even as I sign this important legislation into law, I recognize that this may not be the final word,” Governor Baldacci said. “Just as the Maine Constitution demands that all people are treated equally under the law, it also guarantees that the ultimate political power in the State belongs to the people.”

“While the good and just people of Maine may determine this issue, my responsibility is to uphold the Constitution and do, as best as possible, what is right. I believe that signing this legislation is the right thing to do,” Governor Baldacci said.

Congratulations, Maine.

Gay Marriage Maine