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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.

So, after a year-long sabbatical I have missed so much that it has been hard to decide how to begin writing again. What issue would blip on my radar, my proverbial “game on,” that would quickly fade into the background when followed by more regular posts. Today, I found the juicy blogosphere morsel that jerked me from my comfortable seat in the back of the bleachers.

Vaughn Walker is gay. Vaughn Walker, the Judge overseeing the current federal trial related to Proposition 8, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, is gay.

Apparently, Walker’s sexuality is no secret, but the fact that it has not come up throughout this trial is amazing. The major points covered in the Chronicle Article that broke the story include the fact that Walker was randomly assigned to this trial; he did not seek the appointment.

The anti-gay equality crowd has put out a statement talking about the “obvious” and “egregious” bias shown by Judge Walker in this case. The National Organization for Marriage (straights only marriage, that is) released a statement entitled “Got Bias.” Their statement reads like kids on a playground shouting “that’s not fair!”

The obvious logical point here is that all judges are supposedly unbiased in their case decisions, and, of course, heterosexual judges decide the fate of LGBT people all the time. I must admit though, it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure to watch the anti-equality forces feel the same sense of injustice that we feel everyday—whether it is unfounded or not.

Game on.

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

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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