Category Archives: Politics

Tell 3 Campaign

This is a really good idea:

Why is this important? It’s important because California voted to get rid of marriage rights for our community. It’s important because 29 other states have done the same. It’s important because LGBT people get fired from their jobs just for being who they are, kids get beat up in school for seeming “queer” while school administrators do nothing about it, and same-sex couples can’t foster or adopt while children in need go without homes. Isn’t it getting old?

The good news is that equality is coming into style. We don’t have as many supporters as we need (yet), but the community of straight allies is growing. LGBT visibility has brought a lot of progress, but the research we’ve seen says that being out and visible is not enough (read it here if you don’t believe us). What changes people’s hearts and minds and gets them to support equality is having had personal, close relationships with gay people. Relationships where through conversations straight people learn what it’s like to be LGBT.

Yes, the fifteen-year-olds of this country are overwhelmingly supportive of our rights. But if we don’t want to wait around for today’s teenagers to become middle-aged before we get equality, we’re going to have to get more people to support us. And the best way to do that is by Telling 3.

Marriage by any other name . . .

It might work if you’re a Montague or a Capulet, but for LGBT folks, marriage by any other name does not smell as sweet. Here’s the bottom line on why this issue is so important and pushes so many buttons:

Marriage = legitimacy.

That is, if LGBT folks can marry, it means that their relationships are legitimate. Socially sanctioned. Official. Recognized. Everything else hangs off of that. Everything.

“Domestic partnership” or “civil union,” regardless of how many rights they confer on the couple, does not carry the same weight that the word “marriage” has in our society or our psyches.

From an article in the L.A. Times last May:

Many gay Californians said that even the state’s broadly worded domestic partnership law provided only a second-class substitute for marriage. The court agreed.

Giving a different name, such as “domestic partnership,” to the “official family relationship” of same-sex couples imposes “appreciable harm” both on the couples and their children, the court said.

The distinction might cast “doubt on whether the official family relationship of same-sex couples enjoys dignity equal to that of opposite-sex couples,” [Chief Justice] George wrote . . .

The ruling cited a 60-year-old precedent that struck down a ban on interracial marriage in California.

Unfortunately, it looks like the CA Supreme Court (after making such a sweeping statement in the marriage cases that allowed LGBT marriage in CA in the first place!) will decide that Prop 8 is NOT a constitutional revision to the CA state constitution. Their argument being, in short, that LGBT folks have all the same rights under the CA domestic partnership, so what’s in a name? (You can see why the lawyers arguing the case were shocked to hear this reasoning after the Court’s decision last May.) It’s only taking away a little bit of the rights of a minority (i.e. suspect) class to let Prop 8 stand. And it’s not really a structural change to the CA constitution and therefore not really a revision. Plus, the “power of the people” is also a right and striking down Prop 8 would infringe on that. Here is a decent summary in the most recent issue of Time and a really good, more in-depth article in the L.A. Times.

Fortunately, the law is pretty clear on retroactive propositions in California: if retroactivity was not specifically stated in the proposition, then said proposition is not retroactive. Prop 8 does not have any language along those lines (regardless of the one weak statement in a rebuttal argument in a voter information pamphlet). This means that the 18,000 LGBT couples who married in California will most likely get to keep their marriages yet no more LGBT folks can get married.

So, I have a few questions for the Court: I wonder what happened to the power of the 48% of the people who voted against Prop 8? And splitting hairs on how much of a right we can take away? Once you open that door, where does it stop?

Barr says: DOMA not working as planned, will take ball and go home.

Bob Barr, author of the Defense of Marriage Act, recants, like sort-of, in this article.

Maybe hidden in the causes of his commitment to federalism is an understanding of the inherent civil rights of human beings — as stated in the the Bill of Rights and, oh, in this little phrase from a certain document: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness — but I might be stretching my optimism a little thin.

I guess I’ll just be content with the fact that he’s calling for it to be repealed.

Prop 8: What Happened to Separation of Church and State?

So, I’ve been asking myself that question a lot since Prop 8 eked out a victory this week at the polls — thanks in large part to the approximately 22 million dollars donated by members of the LDS (Mormon) Church to the Yes on 8 campaign. Seems like I’m not the only one asking this question — and they’ve even started a petition.

I know that the LDS church offers a lot for its members — community, faith, support — but what I don’t understand is why they should have the right to use their resources to force the rest of us to conform to their world view. It’s not only unfair and immoral, it’s unconstitutional.

(The genius of the constitution being to protect the minority from a hostile majority through an intricate set of checks and balances — one of them being the Bill of Rights. Each time I watch our democratic process at work, I am awed by the foresight and genius (and sheer dumb luck) of our country’s founders. For this very reason, I love my country.)