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May 30, 2009


If you've been following my last two posts, you know that the California Supreme Court let Prop 8 stand but still allowed marriages already performed to be valid and legal. Confusing? Of course. Contradictory? You bet. But because of the way the ruling was worded, the path to future gay marriages in California is still wide open.

On one hand, they made it clear that they were forced to rule only on the legality of Prop 8 being on the ballot but, on the other, they also made it clear that some gay marriages can remain legal which immediately sets up the dichotomous conflict of the same basic citizen right being both legal and illegal in the same state. That kind of legal conundrum can only be finally decided in the U.S. Supreme Court. Which is exactly what's about to happen.

If you saw my article yesterday, you already know that two of the nation's top legal minds who have both argued before the Supreme Court have agreed to act as co-councils in the lawsuit filed by the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

Ted Olson and David Boies argued against each other in the now infamous 2000 Bush v. Gore presidential election Supreme Court case that was watched and scrutinized by virtually the entire world. Earlier this week they appeared on Larry King to discuss their reasons for taking on this historic case. Below is the video of that interview:

The only thing I'm very concerned about with this action is the make-up of our current Supreme Court. Even with the addition of Justice Sonia Maria Sotomayor who will replace Justice David Souter, the court will still have the same ideological make-up.

However, even given that, I am still very hopeful that at least one or two of the other justices will vote in favor of this simple and very clear-cut case of civil rights.

Who knows, maybe we'll luck out and Obama will be able to appoint another justice before this case reaches the court. Stranger things have happened.

May 28, 2009


As expected, Tuesday's decision allowing California's Proposition 8 to stand is now, officially, headed to the United States Supreme Court.

According the transcript of a press conference held yesterday and posted at Box Turtle Bulletin, Chad Griffin, board chairman of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, announced that they have filed a lawsuit in the federal courts against the state of California. In addressing the press conference crowd, Griffin said:

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling that had a profound effect on California gays and lesbians. We saw thousands of people take to the streets last night to express their sadness, grief and dismay at the court’s failure to protect their fundamental rights. But yesterday’s ruling had an even more profound impact. It signaled to gay Americans across this nation that we are not viewed as equal in the eyes of the law. To every American whose rights are being denied, we’re here to say this fight is not over and we will win.

We’re taking this fight to the federal courts in order to protect the equal rights guaranteed to every American by the United States Constitution. Our courts exist to protect our rights when they are violated, and we are prepared to go all the way to the United States Supreme Court to find justice.

We are acting now because as Dr. King said, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” For even one couple to live through one more day of state-sanctioned second-class citizenship is one day too many.

The seriousness of this effort is underscored by the stature and reputation of the two attorneys who have agreed to act as co-councils for this action.

Both are seasoned professionals who have argued before the Supreme Court in what is probably the highest profile and most contentious political battle in the history of our country.

Ted Olson and David Boies are the two attorneys who argued against each other in the now infamous Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case that was watched and scrutinized by virtually the entire world. According to Griffin, these two outstanding attorneys are working together to fight this historic civil rights battle because "they share an abiding belief that all Americans are guaranteed equal protection under the law, and are guaranteed the right to marry the person they love."

Ted Olson said at the press conference;

The case we filed on behalf of the individuals that you see before you today is not about liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. We’re here, in part, to symbolize that. This case is about the equal rights guaranteed to every American under the United States constitution.

David Boies followed by saying;

Our constitution guarantees every American the right to be treated equally under the law. There is no right more fundamental than the right to marry the person that you love and to raise a family.

The courts exist to reverse injustices. The purpose of our constitution and the purpose of our court system is to make sure that the promise of our constitution is extended to every American. That’s what this lawsuit is about.

I just hope that when this case does reach the Supreme Court there are enough justices seated at that time who will agree that this is, indeed, a case of equal justice and equal treatment under the law. Hopefully, Obama will be able to replace at least one of the extreme rightist with someone more attuned to the true intents of our founding fathers.

Since Sotomayor's appointment would keep the balance the same, it does seem that my hope is a pie-in-the-sky dream because at least one of those extremists would have to die or resign before then. Would it be wrong to say I'm keeping my fingers crossed?

May 26, 2009


A couple of hours ago the California Supreme Court announced it's rulings on Proposition 8 and the validity of the marriages already performed.

The bad news is that they ruled in favor of upholding the infamous Proposition 8. A News Release from the court stated:

The 136-page majority opinion notes at the outset that the court’s role is not to determine whether Proposition 8 “is wise or sound as a matter of policy or whether we, as individuals believe it should be a part of the California Constitution,” but rather “is limited to interpreting and applying the principles and rules embodied in the California Constitution, setting aside our own personal beliefs and values.”

The court ruled that Prop 8 didn't constitute a "revision" of the state's constitution because it only addressed a narrow definition of the term "marriage" but didn't prohibit legally established same-sex relationships...

Instead, it carves out a limited exception to these constitutional rights by reserving the official designation of the term “marriage” for the union of opposite-sex couples, but leaves undisturbed all of the other aspects of a same-sex couple’s constitutional right to establish an officially recognized and protected family relationship and to the equal protection of the laws.

On one hand it sounds like they're saying that their ruling doesn't preclude legal, same-sex relationships as long as the word "marriage" isn't used. And that the ruling doesn't necessarily represent their own, personal feelings about the amendment itself.

It's almost as if their words embody a strongly implied encouragement for us to pursue the legalization of our relationships under any other name than "marriage." Unfortunately, that brings us right back to the "separate but equal" conundrum. And that, to me, is a totally unacceptable option. We've seen how easily legal "civil unions" can be dismissed by homophobic medical and legal professionals and scores of businesses simply by the phrase "well, you're not really married" so they feel they're legally free to ignore our relationships. After all, the laws and regulations do say "married couples" this and "married couples" that.

The good news in this debacle is that the court did uphold the legality of the 18,000+ marriages already performed before Prop 8 passed. The elephant-in-the-room on that one though is the question of how difficult is it going to be for these couples to convince those same homophobes that their marriages are legal when the only thing all these people are going to remember in their tiny little minds is that the court upheld Prop 8.

That aside however, I DO CONGRATULATE those who were "married" and wish each and everyone of them the happy and fulfilling lives they seek.

Obviously, the battle is far from over in California.

If you would like to read the press release or the opinions themselves, go to:
They can be downloaded in either PDF or WORD formats.

As I reported yesterday, there are going to be demonstrations in cities around the country tonight.

Rally at 6pm on 7th Avenue at Camelback in the lot next to Charlie's.

Rally at 6:30pm in Catalina Park (1st St. & 4th Ave.)

Go to: DayOfDecision.com