Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Wheel of The World Returns to Prop 8

Its hard to believe that its been more than a year since the final court decision was handed down on Proposition 8...and here we are facing it again. Not the long awaited revote(fate uncertain) but another court challenge to the original legislation.

Perry vs. Schwarzenegger is scheduled to be heard here in California this coming monday January 11th. In an effort to bring transparency to the proceedings, a petition to allow the hearing to be filmed has been posted at . The petition letter reads:

To the Honorable Judge Vaughn Walker:

We are writing to insist that the trial of Proposition 8 be televised to the public. In any democracy, openness and transparency are necessary to the proper functioning of our courts. Americans have the right to know what is being said and argued in their courts, and allowing cameras in the courtroom to broadcast the trial is the best, most efficient way to provide the transparency to which we are entitled.

This case presents issues that are very important to the public, and will affect millions of people. However, only a tiny fraction will ever be able to watch the trial in person. By televising the trial, the public will be able to see for themselves the arguments and evidence presented by both sides, and will therefore have more confidence in the outcome of the trial.

Justice is blind, but the public is not, and should not be blind in this case. We urge you to uphold the public's right to view this important trial on television.

To those who can...please take a moment to fill out the petition and let Judge Vaughn know that we want to be able to know what happens to the fate of our marriages ..that we have a right to its happening. Not in a leaflet distributed annonymously afterward.

I have to admit that I have a great deal of trepidation going into this case. The stakes, as always, are high and the outcome uncertain. I think we've all seen enough of conservatives torturing logic to arrive at justifications for horrid actions. I don't think the sky is falling...but I do have one eye firmly fixed on this case with the hopes that Judge Vaughn has a touch more compassion, vision, and wisdom than did the Justices of California's Supreme Court. One Queerty reader summed up what was at stake in their article regarding infighting between the lawyers representing the case and  Gay Inc. who now want onboard, after previously trashing the attempt. The  commenter had this to say:

No. 9 · Chris

You know, there's a good reason "Gay Inc" have been reluctant to take this to SCOTUS. Anyone who thinks this is a home run case is either totally uninformed, or an idiot. Olson and Boies could very easily lose this case, and if they do there are two possibilities. One, the court issues a narrow opinion that applies only to this specific case, leaves Prop 8 intact, and allows for future challenges – OR – they issue a far-reaching ruling that could undermine efforts at achieving gay marriage in other states, and even potentially undo the victories we've achieved so far.

If you want to have a look at a group who lost their Supreme Court case, take a look at the pro-lifers. It's been almost 40 years since Roe v Wade, and as much as they may protest and rally and donate and campaign and elect friendly politicians, they don't achieve any measurable change. Their "victories" are all short-lived before they are overturned based on that one decision. Yes, abortion remains a controversial issue, but it also remains legal – the decision handed down by SCOTUS has lasted 40 years, and won't likely change much in the near future.

Too many members of the gay community seems to look ahead to this case with the assumption that we will be the victors. They fail to appreciate the consequences to the movement if we lose. We've been achieving victory for fifty years, slowly but steadily, and building up steam in the last decade. If we lose this challenge, we become the new pro-life movement, picketing and campaigning in futility for the next half-century.

Not being a legal expert myself I can't offer an informed opinion on the truth of his assertion but I can appreciate his point of view. As I previously stated, the stakes are high and we have seen some surprising turn-arounds in the struggle for marriage equality thus far. Will it be as bad as this gentleman is implying...I really don't know. I do know that the strategies employed by HRC and Lamba Legal and many other orginizations that fall under the monicer "Gay Inc", isn't yielding fruit. So much so that one wonders if its truly a priority for them. They have yet to stand up and be counted at a single election where marriage equality was up for a vote.
And I also know that this case could have far reaching consequences to my family. Perry vs. Schwarzenegger will be on my watch list this week...stay tuned.


  1. I see I'm not the only one who got the memo from CREDO Action today...

    I don't wanna get my hopes up, though I'm really rooting for you, Jay & Bryan, as well as other married and unmarried (yet yearning to marry) gay couples in California.

    And, of course, it's not just a California issue... these things tend to become significant.

    The rest I already expressed before: LOGIC says same-sex civil marriages must exist, but BIBLE, designed to give ignorant people a shortcut to God, continues to incite fear, hatred, and lack of imagination & compassion to someone who just happens to be different, yet law-abiding and Good-As-You. And if even judges can't see past their own believes, this country will never be what it claims to be already.

  2. I am not sure I like the tone of the commenter you quoted but I have to agree that I am worried about a case getting the supreme court.

    With the current location of American public opinion on the gay issue I am not at all sure that we would win and if we lose that could be game over for the gay marriage movement for quite some time :(

  3. I'll pay attention to this case as best I can next week. I think that Chris, and orangegoblin for that matter, has a valid concern. It can have very far reaching and dangerous results for American homosexuals who are desperate for marriage, and put the rights that have been acquired into jeopardy (as the failure of proposition 8 and the Maine vote managed to do)... On the other hand, it could strengthen the movement in powerful ways.

    It is going to be divisive. The result will be met with protests from the losers, whoever they are. Enormous celebrations amongst homosexuals if "their" side wins. A continued effort to curb the acquisition of rights by "the other side" regardless of the outcome.

  4. Okay, I just finished reading the entire complaint filed in the court and I must say that I think they are going about this in the wrong way. They are saying that the seperate-but-unequal 'domestic partnership' is 'unequal in the eyes of the law' which I completely agree with, however I think it would be so much easier and we would have a greater chance of victory if the domestic partnership laws were overturned first. Now it may have been a huge victory at the time to have domestic partnerships but ultimately, all a domestic partnership allows is an excuse for gay marriage not to be allowed. The closest thing I can think to equate it to would be African americans trying to fight for equal rights while slavery remained legal...just doesn't make sense. Maybe I'm wrong but it's just my opinion.

  5. Alot of straight couples enjoy domestic partnerships too. Overturning domestic partnerships would hurt them as much as it could possibly end up hurting us.

  6. New subscriber! I've been reading your blogs from before though. I'm still in the closet and pretty much only around heterosexuals so I get a lot of education from your blogs.

  7. @u3q2v

    Welcome! Its always nice to have a new voice around here!

  8. @ Bryan...the only straight couples that would be affected by overturning domestic partnerships are those with a member over the age of 62 that are already registered in a domestic partnership. Honestly, any straight couple can get married so why even go through the hassle of a domestic partnership anyway? Basically what I'm saying is that why should the government allow gay marriage when it already has domestic partnerships that allow some of the same rights as a conventional marriage does? If gay marriage becomes legal, then what will happen to domestic partnerships? All the straight couples will be whining and crying that then there will be 2 variations of a 'marriage' for gay couples but only one for them (unless one of them is over 62) then, gays have MORE rights than the straights so one of them will undoubtedly get overturned and of course it will be the marriage just seems natural to me to get rid of the 'special priveledges' of a domestic partnership before going after gay marriage. Maybe I'm wrong in thinking this but we can't always live by the words of "what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine".

  9. The flip side of this being that we overturn civil partnerships and push for marriage only to find that resistance to the idea of gays getting "married remains intact...meanwhile, having burnt our bridges by overturning civil partnerships, we find we have nothing to fall back on. So we find ourselves completely ass out.

    I feel we need to secure marriage before partnerships can go the way of the dodo.

  10. Did you see the news? They are going to broadcast the hearing.

    Against the anti-rights lobby.

    Apparently they are ashamed to go on TV while gay bashing but the judge ignored them.

  11. To add to Bryan's comment, I know many people that don't necessarily want to get married, but prefer the institution of domestic partnership. The term marriage, to many of my peers, represents a tradition that is broken and false - it is reserved for specific people, far too religious-centric, and focused on a life-long, permanent commitment that many of my friends are not sure that they are interested in making. Ever.

    I understand what you are saying Jason. I think that there is some validity to it - God knows I was disappointed when Washington voted in favour of civil union/domestic partnership this past November rather than marriage. Not because it happened, but because it can allow for a greater sense of equality between heterosexuals and homosexuals, even though equality does not exist.

    That being said, I think that there is a great opportunity (that has been relatively well-used by the gay rights movement, and is certainly well understood by it...) to refer to the case of Plessy v. Fergusson, in which the ideals of "separate but equal" were deemed unconstitutional.

    I'm very curious about how this is going to pan out overall.

  12. @Jason

    I don't see the problem with equal rights for gays and straights: if same-sex marriage is being introduced, domestic partnerships of people of the same gender should be upgraded to marriages (unless they dissolve those partnerships in, say, 60 days after the law's enactment). But if at least one of partners in same-sex partnership WAS over 62 years old at the time they entered that partnership, they shall remain in a domestic partnership only, they shall not be deemed married. This solution will be absolutely equal for both straight and gay citizens in terms of marriage available for people younger than 62 years of age, and in terms of domestic partnerships available for senior citizens of over 62 years of age, no matter if an opposite-sex couple or a same-sex couple is entering marriage or domestic partnership.

    You also suggest to annul domestic partnerships completely for same-sex partners. I humbly disagree. If some particular state already introduced something like domestic partnership, or civil partnership, or civil union (what are other names for that?), they should be replaced by same-sex marriage, just like I described in my previous paragraph, but not removed before. We should not take away the only thing that even remotely reminds of the real marriage. We have to go the other way: we must show that domestic partnerships do not work the way they were supposed to, they do not provide people with equal rights and benefits available to married couples, they are not recognized to be equal to marriages by our society! Thus, domestic partnerships are not equal to marriages, and that is why they must be upgraded to marriages, and marriage equality must be established. I'm fairly sure there are lots of people in domestic partnerships who want to have a full-blown marriage, who know why partnerships simply don't work, who know how important it is to have this word written on the certificate, how important it is to be able to say “husband” and “wife” instead of “partner.” You don't have to scare people into yearning marriage. Those that want it, won't be satisfied with partnerships; those that will be satisfied, won't care enough if you take it away.

  13. @Neal

    About those who want to have some privileges, but don't want to be married. I don't understand this at all. If the reason is that marriage is too complicated to dissolve, then why the hell should the government help people with those partnerships, if these people are planning an exit strategy, obviously on bad terms? In marriages you can sign prenuptial agreements to solve the most of those issues on good terms. As for the argument that the word “marriage” became associated with something religious and/or broken... well, we can't stress enough that we are talking about civil marriages, not religious ones! In fact, introduction of same-sex marriage on all levels will be the best way to show that civil marriage is not the same as religiously celebrated union. All in all, any partnership of people who love each other sexually, is marriage, why should we create parallel structures to accommodate any need? This will only end up in creating numerous parallel institutions for people of different religions or based on other arguments... The government should not get involved into these intricacies... If you want to be recognized as a sexual couple and get the benefits, here's marriage for you, one institution that everybody understands... And you can call it anything you want, you can treat your union any way you want, it's your business, not the government's. If you want, you can call in “partnership,” or “union,” or whatever you desire, but for the government you will be a married couple. I'm all for simplicity and transparency, it is important for equality. And I personally don't understand why in some states people of the age over 62 cannot get married... I distaste this prohibition and stand for its removal. We all should be equal. Because we are equal.

  14. @canadianhumility and K!r!llXXI...

    I guess what I'm getting at is that domestic partnerships are nothing more (in MY eyes anyway) than a 'special' right instead of an 'equal' right. After all, aren't we seeking EQUAL rights instead of SPECIAL rights? I think part of the backlash of all these marriage laws and gay rights in general, is that people are resilient to the idea of special rights for gays. I don't think I'm alone in saying that special rights are far more dangerous than equal rights and I don't WANT any 'special' rights, I just want equal rights. It kind of goes along the lines of special rights for women instead of equal rights for women. Maybe this doesn't make sense to everyone but it's just what I think.

  15. @Jason
    Your premise is right, but your conclusion is a bit off... I mentioned I'm against these partnerships and unions as well, I think they should be abolished completely in favor of marriage equality, and not only for gay people, but also for senior citizens. We all should be equal, it's not right to take away people's right to get married if they are of certain age or of certain sexual orientation. I agree this is a SPECIAL thingy that should not exist at all. However, we can't do this to people without bringing marriage equality first to replace partnerships and unions. They deserve to have at least what they can if it makes their lives just a bit easier in terms of housing and taxes. That's my only point.
    If I were American and had a boyfriend, I would rather go to Canada and get married there, but I probably wouldn't enter any partnership, proceeding with the fight for marriage.

  16. Hey Bryan
    I am beginning to think we should just shoot all the politicians.... as a straight woman whether or not gay's want to get married makes not difference to me ... I am not married nor do I wish to but if same-sex couples want to get married you should be able to I dont see why so many people out there have a problem with something that doesnt affect them, how does gays marriages affect their marriages in an way, shape or form? And why are people so concerned about that when we have child abuse, slavery in some countries, and killings. I finds these issues much worse.
    Like said when I first fell in to your Depfox channel I think you and your family are adorable. You are facing the same issues as heterosexual couple with raising your children and to some degree possibly doing a better job then some of them.
    Next on the list will be single parents (which will affect me) saying we shouldn't raise our children because there is no mum/or dad and we cant possibly raise good healthy children on our own... so of which is unsaid when talking to people, you can hear it in their voices as I have heard it for the last 17 yrs and from my own brother which hurts (and he doesn't even have any children)
    So enough of my rant wayyyyyyyyyy off topic sorry