Why We Need To Take California Back at the Ballot Box

So here’s the rub, we screwed up big time in 2008, when we let Prop 8 pass.Did I Vote on Your Marriage

Yes, I know I’m talking about a campaign I was mostly only looking at from the peripheral before I really got involved in any activism. I realise that many of these actions happened before I had the bravery to walk down the street as who I am, but I use the term “we” to describe the equality movement as a continuous movement of which every brave soul who stands up, true to themselves is a part of.

However despite all the work of the NoH8 campaign, the general mood of lgbtqiappqa people around California and the USA, was that Prop 8 had no chance of passing. I remember watching in utter disbelief as the results came in.

In 2003 we had a move forward so basic and fundamental, that said something so utterly simple, that being gay was no longer a crime. The backlash as almost immediate, with the republicans using homophobic hate to fuel their re-election of a man who proudly admitted he would block any expansion of hate crimes if it protected gay people.

If the equality movement had crumbled at every set back, the President might still be in chains, the Secretary of State might still be the property of her husband, and I would be either in prison, or dead. Instead of faltering, we began to fight back with a renewed passion, in part, because we knew if we did not fight, hate for our very being would be codified into the constitution.

Fight Back!

Massachusetts was the first state to legalize marriage equality, and we slowly made moves to bring in civil unions, domestic partnerships and in a few states marriage equality, when the event happened. The California Supreme Court struck down the laws on marriage equality as discriminatory. Suddenly we had a victory, and it was an unmatched game changing victory. We’d won in one of our home states, and we could already smell DOMA on its deathbed. But from across the USA haters gathered, seething in their unholy disgust of ordinary americans daring to demand their rights.

They came to California with their tax-exempt funds and loyal minions who thought they were doing the work of a loving god who wanted them to fight equality. Lies, mistruths and whispers were spread to scare people about the simple concept of equality. Those lies tipped the balance, and while we’d come a long way since the 70% vote in 2000.

Now with my limited legal understanding, and with 5 minutes I can drive a truck through the constitutionality of Prop 8, and I have no doubt that once it gets to the supreme court not even Bush’s handpicked stacking of the court can argue that its just or constitutional to strip rights by majority rule. I agree that we can win this without another ballot initiative, but I think this time we have to put up up for the popular vote.

Prop 8 = American Taliban

31 states have voted on our rights, and 31 have made the wrong choice, the un-American choice, and a choice will stain the reputation and soul of every one of those states even more perhaps than those who had anti-miscegenation laws on their books. The religious right uses it in every argument, in every case, that it managed to bring intolerance to every state no matter how blue it is.

This is a war, but not of weapons and power, but one of ideas, on one side there is hate, cruelty and ignorance, and the other is a side of love, compassion and wisdom. We had a huge victory in New York, thats turned the tide against NOM and its allies, across the country from deep blue to faintly red states are talking about marriage equality, not to mention the Repeal of DOMA is being talked of and supported by significant politicians who were too cowardly to do so before.

I don’t want to fight a war, I want to find the right words to melt the most bigoted heart, and I’m still looking for those words, but as I’ll write in another article, about my experiences trying to communicate with the heathen has worn even my godlike patience to the point at which I acted in a way that I’m not exactly proud of.

At stake is more than our own selfish interest, its for the interest of every single LGBTQIAPPQA youth out there who’s vulnerable and alone because they are surrounded by christian fundamentalists, in deep red and even deep blue enemy territory. Its about telling the world that you are marrying the person you want to spend the rest of you life with. Its about building a life with someone and not having to carry around legal documents just to prove that they are your spouse. Its about employers respecting your family just the same as any other family, in sickness, and in health.  Its  for when that bond is strained by illness, and eventually snapped by death, and being treated the same as any other widow, by your friends, your town, your state and your government as every other new widow struggling to make sense of the life they have lost. Its about our children, and our families being given the same rights, and treated with the same respect as others.


So my fellow champions are you prepared to fight the next hard battle and take us one step closer to the victory of true equality.We’ve got to risk a lot of support, a lot of resources on a battle many think is already won.But we need to win it in a way that they cannot dismiss, they cannot rubbish and they cannot ever hold over us again. California needs to vote, not because the vote is politically, socially or constitutionally ready, but because California needs to put right the contamination of hate that the people tried to put into their constitution.

This is a strategic battle for the hearts and minds of every American be they be living true to themselves in the Castro, or hiding from themselves filled with self loathing on the Focus on the Family church campus. There is no stronger signal that can be sent, than for California to vote unequivocally for equality.

We need some hope and a symbol, and thats why we need to put the repeal of Proposition 8 on the ballot in 2012. We can and we must take California back.

King and Spalding, in a different time….

King and Spalding building with a ButterflySo this idea came about because normally its considered good legal ethics for a lawyer to defend their client no matter how distasteful. A lawyer should represent their client’s position to the best of their ability. However what happens all the time, when for a variety of reasons, a firm or specific lawyer will decide to stop representing a client. Sometimes its a conflict of interest, a matter of ethics, or quite simply business decisions.

In order however to describe the situation in a clearer way, the year is 1963, and the ACLU has filed a suit on behalf of the Loving family against the state of Virginia about their anti-miscegenation statute. Now part way through that lawsuit, if Mills Godwin had on the advice of his Attorney General, decided to direct the Attorney General of Virginia to no longer defend the 1924 law. In response, the legislature hires a prominent law firm, akin to King and Spalding which is a progressive supporter of equal rights.

On reflection and after prominent complaints to the law firm, they decide on balance, they cannot justify being involved in defending an indefensible law and so withdraw.

Its exactly the same situation with King and Spalding today withdrawing from the defense of an indefensible law, and we applaud them for coming to their senses.


In Montana, Civil Unions are at the back of the bus

There’s been a ruling in Montana, that highlights many of the problems with civil unions. The case was about giving civil unions all the rights of married couples in Montana.

The judge in the case, Jeffrey Sherlock ruled that since there was a Montana amendment specifically in place to prevent equal rights for lgbtqia couples, his hands were tied and he had to reject the plaintive’s case.

Minor hate group, the Montana Family Foundation, applauded the judge’s cowardice claiming he exercised “judicial restraint”.

The Montana ACLU was disappointed but stated that they would appeal to the Montana supreme court. Judge Sherlock indicated that their appeal might be successful, due to his feeling that the superior court would feel they had more of a scope to rule against the amendment.

Matt Bauer of Stop8.org takes on the latest NOM anti-equality advert

His analysis of the horrific advert put out by NOM attacking marriage is as ever excellent, thoughtful and to the point.

Here is the original video if you want to find out what lies NOM are spreading.

Here’s Matt’s analysis of the different cases involving DOMA and how the DOJ decision affects those different cases.


I’ve been watching Matt at Stop 8.org‘s excellent video blog entries on marriage equality, having started working against Proposition 8.

Here’s this week covering House defense of DOMA, Marriage support, Maryland marriage equality vote, replacement of Judge Walker, Prop 8 standing, Maine’s marriage inequality, New Hampshire surviving a republican backstab, and Rhode Island’s step forward. Also covered is the new children’s book “My Uncle’s Wedding” including an interview with the author.

Last week’s video covered in a great deal of detail the provisions of DOMA, and how the Obama action on DOMA affects the many court cases going on across the USA. There is also an interview with one of the leading lawyers fighting for marriage equality on immigration issues.

You can subscribe to future and past videos at Matt’s Youtube Page. More details about the news stories can be found at Stop8.org. You can also follow Stop8.org on facebook.

Maggie Gallagher debates DOMA on C-Span with HRC

Here’s the full debate which I felt was far better than the previous one I saw on Fox News

I was annoyed that Brian Moulton failed to raise the fact that there are many studies out there that show longitudinal investigations of LGBTQIA parents and children, with no deleterious effects.

Maggie Gallagher did seem to be on the ropes a bit, her arguments were at best exceptionally weak, and did not seem to stand up for the most part, and she also retreated into the Polygamy defense. I was pleased to see Brian Moulton not throw marriage evolution under the bus and simply said that other groups would be free to make their case.

Found from the NOM Blog.

Sarah Palin returns Maggie’s Call

Finally a couple of days late, famed talentless reality TV star Sarah Palin returned Maggie Gallagher’s call about her opinion on the DOMA decision Barack Obama made.

“I have always believed that marriage is between one man and one woman. Like the majority of Americans, I support the Defense of Marriage Act and find it appalling that the Obama administration decided not to defend this federal law which was enacted with broad bipartisan support and signed into law by a Democrat president. It’s appalling, but not surprising that the President has flip-flopped on yet another issue from his stated position as a candidate to a seemingly opposite position once he was elected.”

However just the same as everybody except the delusional Michelle Bachmann she failed to actually say that she was going to focus on undoing Obama’s decision.

I guess they don’t think 2012 is gonna be won on gay bashing principles…


NOM tells us something interesting about the Republican 2012 spread

I was reading this piece on the NOM blog about lack of DOMA defense, and I was planning to write a piece about how it proves that the Republicans are LGBTQIA-phobic bigots.

However despite not finding the smoking gun I was looking for, I found something rather hopeful.

If you look at the 8 candidates interviewed, who exclude the self-aggrandizing Herman Cain, the results are rather interesting. Of the 8 selected, only one actually said “I will continue to do everything in my power to fight back against Barack Obama’s attacks on Marriage” from everyone’s favorite lunatic Michelle Bachmann.

We’ve got a ” This is yet another example of our president’s effort to erode the very traditions that have made our country the greatest nation on earth.” from Rick ‘really doesn’t like his internet nickname’ Santorum. A light confused rebuke from Mike “god’s law before the constitution'” Huckabee “That’s hypocritical. It’s hypocritical and it’s dishonest, because when he ran for president, Chris, he said he supported traditional marriage. He’s on the record. Now, the question is was he dishonest then? Is he dishonest now? Or did he change his view, and if he did when and why?”. This triad of half hearted candidates is rounded off by Tim “i’m a real conservative, i have chest hair and everything” Pawlenty, in one full breath saying “I firmly believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, as President Obama told us he believed in 2008. But now President Obama and his Justice Department would have us believe that traditional marriage laws are unconstitutional. I oppose the Justice Department’s political decision to reverse its policy defending the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal statute passed overwhelmingly by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. The job of the Justice Department is to enforce and defend laws passed by Congress and signed by the President. I am disappointed that the President and his Justice Department have abdicated this responsibility, all for the sake of partisan political gain”.

Newt Gingrich came out with “The President is replacing the rule of law with the rule of Obama. The President swore an oath on the Bible to ensure that the laws be faithfully executed, not to decide which laws are and which are not constitutional.”. All Mitt Romney could say was the decision was “an unfortunate mistake, the President has an obligation as chief executive to enforce and defend the laws of the nation. He should not abdicate that responsibility based on his own interpretations and personal views.”.

The new kid on the block, Mitch Daniels admitted the issue was unimportant for him via a spokeswoman saying “hasn’t, commented and with other things we have going on here right now, he has no plans.”.

Finally the reality TV star who makes Snooki look presidential, Sarah Palin actually ignored the call and has yet to get back to NOM.

So we have one virulently anti-marriage equality candidate, who probably needs some anti-psychotics to make the black helicopters go away. Three people who say “traditional marriage is being attacked” but fail to take a strong anti-equality position. There’s two “president isn’t doing his duty in defending an indefensible law” candidates. On candidate who’s not given it any thought to the situation, and one candidate who can’t be bothered to return a phone call.

Now I’m not saying that this group of comedy misfits are not dangerous or LGBTQIA-phobic and given the chance would love to burn all of us at the stake or at least drive us back into the closet. What I am saying is that these guys aren’t exactly coming out guns-a-blazing for hatred… I guess they know gay-bashing isn’t going to win them 2012…

I’m not expecting the President to actually grow a backbone and fight for equality, because that sounds too much like being a progressive, but at least the country has changed enough that the gay bashers are worried that they can’t exactly win votes from independents by bashing LGBTQIA folk.

I think the Right Wing has a point about President Obama

Yup you did read that right, I agree with the right wing in some areas. President Obama is being a coward on the DOMA situation. He’s not actually standing up for marriage equality, he’s just saying that he’s not going to defend it any more.

President Obama is not a particularly progressive left wing president, he’s a centrist president, who frequently slams the left wing for daring to challenge him.

In this case I’m talking about a hypothetical Obama with a backbone who gets up on his podium with all the media and watching. This is what I hope he’d say.

“My fellow Americans, I want to speak to you about a situation that affects so many of our friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and ourselves. That is the problem of intolerance being used against them, in so many ways. It is than 30 years after the Stonewall Riots, 30 years since the assassination of Harvey Milk, 30 years since the AIDS crisis was ignored by Ronald Reagan. Despite this, there is still terrible intolerance against LGBTQIA americans.

In the past I have not stood up for true equality, and for that I apologize. I allowed brave men and women to be dismissed from the US military because I did not act sooner. I failed to act on ENDA passage and DOMA repeal.

However that time is over, I am now going to make the moto of my administration, ‘equality for all’ and will work night and day to make America the most equal and tolerant country on earth from this day forward.

I recognize there are people of faith who will object, and I would like to assure them that I will not be interfering in their lives and liberties. But I do need to take them to task for two key points, firstly that my marriage and your marriages are NOT threatened by gay marriage. Secondly there is no difference between loving straight and gay families when they raise children.

There was a time when someone would look down on someone like me, and that would have been entirely socially aceptable, even after the passage of the Civil Rights act, but now its come to a point where those who are white supremacist are no longer a part of our political fabric and are an insignificant minority, and I look forward to the day when LGBTQIA phobic people are in a similar situation

This is not an extreme or radical position, it is a centrist position of acceptance and american values. I want to have signed marriage equality and ENDA protections into law before November 2 2012. I know many of you out there are thinking that makes re-election harder, but I know the American people, they are fair, they are just, and they are righteous, and standing for equality is standing for them.

If you want to make intolerance a part of your plank, then in the words of former President Bush ‘Bring it On'”.

Sadly this is just a happy thought, no more, the chances of Obama actually saying anything close to this is laughably small. He like the rest of the democratic leadership will fail to actually act on their claim of support for LGBTQIA people.

If the President were to truly stand for equality and use the presidential bully pulpit to talk about the real issues of equality, then 2012 could be the year that the wedge issue of equality could be used against the republicans.

You cannot be against gay equality and not be against gay people…

Brian Brown debates Sean Eldridge with help from Fox News

I was watching this debate live, and I commented with the #marriageequalityfoxdebate hash tag yesterday.

Its 9 minutes worth of the 15 minute debate. It shows some salient points, but it also showed the very weak performance of Sean Eldridge and the bias of the Fox News host.

Brian Brown made the case that children need biological parents as a priority, which ignores decades of research on adoption, donor eggs, donor sperm, IVF and LGBTQIA parenting.

He argued that California (and other states that oppose gay marriage) should not be forced to accept gay marriage. To me thats just the same as states that had anti-miscegenation states complaining they had the right to block those marriages.

The special case of DOMA is that it fundamentally is not a defensible law, and the Obama administration could not provide a good faith defense of the law, because there is none they could find.

Orientation, and Gender identity and expression protections were talked about by Harvey Milk, and at least at the campaign stage, the Bill Clinton was in favor of gay protections, in fact the DADT situation was a failure of his attempt to allow open service of LGB troops within the US military.

Brian brown kept saying that religious and personal distaste should be allowed as legitimate reasons to discriminate against LGBTQIA families and people, when similar behavior on the basis of race would be universally condemned.

The “moderator” introjected about the APA saying she doesn’t like them because they ignore studies that are anti-gay, and Sean Eldridge did not defend the clear principle that the APA ignores junk science. These are loaded studies designed to try to reverse generations of scientific research on LGBTQIA issues by using manipulated or blatantly false data.

Also when Sean was raising the immigration question,

Sean Eldridge’s performance was to be perfectly nice, pathetic, he was so weak on what needed to be said. He could have made a clear example of explaining that religions should not be allowed to practice bigotry with public money.

If you are a bigoted agency like the catholic church you are not an institution that should be allowed to be a public adoption agency.

He should have said that sexual orientation is not being placed at a special state, but is being put at a level with other protected class.

The APA was a position he should have stood strong on, which he failed to do.

I know I’m a polyamorous queer culture advocate, but Sean should have also stated 2 major points, firstly this is not about polygamy, secondly Utah was a territory not a state, so it did not have the same protections.

This was not a victory by Brian Brown, but it was a pitiful defense by Sean Eldridge, who let the moderator side with Brian Brown.

Video was posted on the NOM Blog