President Obama Has Evolved

President Obama announced that he is in favor of equal marriage rights yesterday.

You know, I wish I could say that I’m happy, or excited, or even relieved. When I heard the news, my reaction was basically “Really? Finally. Now, where’s my kindle?”

I am glad he’s come out in support of equality. It does make me happy for my LGBT friends, loved ones, and allies.

It doesn’t ring hollow to me, as it has for some. I don’t believe this will negatively affect his reelection chances. Nor does it strike me as a political gambit, as it has for some.

I just feel as if he should have done this years ago. At the very least, he should have done this before North Carolina voted on Amendment One.

So, President Obama is in favor of marriage equality for LGBT Americans. Good. Now let’s get to work.

My Favorite Quotes From Perry v Brown Part Two

Part one is here. Here are the last nine quotes:

10. “Here, the argument
that withdrawing the designation of ‘marriage’ from same-sex
couples could on its own promote the strength or stability of
opposite-sex marital relationships lacks any such footing in
reality.”

11. “There is a limited sense in which the extension of the designation
‘marriage’ to same-sex partnerships might alter the
content of the lessons that schools choose to teach. Schools
teach about the world as it is; when the world changes, lessons
change. A shift in the State’s marriage law may therefore
affect the content of classroom instruction just as would the
election of a new governor, the discovery of a new chemical
element, or the adoption of a new law permitting no-fault
divorce: students learn about these as empirical facts of the
world around them. But to protest the teaching of these facts
is little different from protesting their very existence; it is like
opposing the election of a particular governor on the ground
that students would learn about his holding office, or opposing
the legitimation of no-fault divorce because a teacher
might allude to that fact if a course in societal structure were
taught to graduating seniors. The prospect of children learning
about the laws of the State and society’s assessment of the
legal rights of its members does not provide an independent
reason for stripping members of a disfavored group of those
rights they presently enjoy.” Read more of this post

My Favorite Quotes From Perry v Brown Part One

I’ve read the decision, and I’m blown away. It was so difficult to choose my favorite passages, but I managed to stop at eighteen quotes. If you followed the live-blogging of the original Prop 8 trial presided over by Judge Vaughn Walker, this is no less amazing and awe-inspiring.

Some of these quotes are especially long, so I’m going to put the vast majority behind a cut. The last nine quotes will be posted later–but you really should go read the whole thing.

1. (Page 18) “The People may not employ the initiative power to single out
a disfavored group for unequal treatment and strip them, without
a legitimate justification, of a right as important as the
right to marry. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the
district court.”

2. “By emphasizing Proposition 8’s limited effect, we do not
mean to minimize the harm that this change in the law caused
to same-sex couples and their families. To the contrary, we
emphasize the extraordinary significance of the official designation
of ‘marriage.’ That designation is important because
‘marriage’ is the name that society gives to the relationship
that matters most between two adults. A rose by any other
name may smell as sweet, but to the couple desiring to enter
into a committed lifelong relationship, a marriage by the name
of ‘registered domestic partnership’ does not. The word ‘marriage’
is singular in connoting “a harmony in living,” “a bilateral
loyalty,” and “a coming together for better or for worse,
hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being
sacred.” Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 486 (1965).
As Proponents have admitted, “the word ‘marriage’ has a
unique meaning,” and “there is a significant symbolic disparity
between domestic partnership and marriage.” It is the designation
of ‘marriage’ itself that expresses validation, by the
state and the community, and that serves as a symbol, like a
wedding ceremony or a wedding ring, of something profoundly
important. See id. at 971.” Read more of this post

Get Your Activism On: Stand Up For Gay Marriage

I got an e-mail from the Courage Campaign this morning–they’re gearing up for the next stage in the fight for marriage equality: Perry v. Brown is going to the Supreme Court.

Here is where you can donate to fund the campaign. Check this out, though: when I got the e-mail, CC was $5,343 away from their goal of $45,000. I just checked their page, and not only have they made enough, they’ve set a new goal of $50,000 and are less than one thousand away from meeting that goal as well!

If you can’t afford to donate, never fear–activism is about much more than raising money.

See this snippet from the e-mail I received from the Courage Campaign:

What are we going to do with those contributions? Well, some people think this is all up to to the lawyers in the courtroom… not so! Legal experts all agree: Supreme Court Justices read the newspaper, watch TV, and take stock of the nation. That’s why we need your support to move the polling numbers on marriage equality, get heartwarming stories of love and commitment between same-sex couples out in the news, and continue to be the #1 place for coverage of the Prop 8 trial on the web. It’s the best thing we can do to ensure the final nail in the coffin for Prop 8.”

If you can’t afford to donate, then help get the message out. Flood the blogosphere with posts supporting marriage equality. Write letters to newspapers across the nation. In other words, make sure that when the justices of the Supreme Court “take stock of the nation” be sure that overwhelming support for equality is what they see.

Check out my contribution here if you need inspiration. Now-let’s get our activism on!

I Believe in Marriage Equality

I believe in love. I believe in equality.

Those two simple facts mean that I must stand up, as an American, as a feminist, as a decent human being, and say this:

I believe in gay marriage equality.

Separate is not equal. Second-class is not freedom. It is a simple concept–and a lesson America learned a long time ago, yes? Well, apparently, we need a refresher course, so I’ll say it again:

Separate is not equal. Second-class is not freedom.

So long as gay marriage is available only in a smattering of states, and referendums on put on ballots across the country to actually vote for people’s right to be equal, America cannot call herself a free country. We are not the land of the free.

We are, however, the land of the brave. I see, every day, gay men and women standing up and openly existing–being who they are–in the face of hatred and violence. Here I am. I exist. I deserve equal rights. I am just like you. I love my partner. I want to be with them for the rest of my life. I, too, want the American dream.

Here I am. I exist. I am bullied. I am hated. I am harassed, assaulted, spat upon, and demonized. I am just like you.

Standing up in the face of such hatred, to put oneself in danger by openly being who they are–that is one of the bravest acts one can do, and I see it done every day.

How can I, as an ally, do anything else but stand with my brothers and sisters?

I couldn’t call myself a friend to the many people I hold dear if I didn’t stand up for them.

Stop that. That’s not cool. That’s discrimination. That’s not right. Your hatred won’t be tolerated here. I am not an ally to your bigotry. You won’t find a safe space to spew such hateful vitriol in me. I believe in equality. I believe my friends should be able to live their lives and marry who they love.

I believe my friends should be able to marry who they love. I believe everyone should be able to marry who they love.

I say this to friends and family. I say this to the people of Kentucky. I say this to Mitch McConnell. I say this to President Obama. I say this to the Supreme Court. I say this to Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in gay marriage. And I won’t give up.

Ninth Circuit Rules Prop 8 Unconstitutional

Now this is some news that will get a night shift gal out of bed in the early afternoon:

Prop8TrialTracker.com has received the 9th Circuit’s opinion in Perry v. Brown that Proposition 8, the 2008 voter-enacted ban on marriage equality in California, is unconstitutional. In addition, the appeals panel ruled that the proponents of Prop 8 did have standing to pursue their appeal of Judge Walker’s decision striking down the marriage ban, and upheld District Court Judge Ware’s decision denying a stay to throw out Walker’s ruling because he is gay. The ruling on constitutionality was divided on an 2-1 vote, with Judges Stephen Reinhardt and Michael Hawkins voting to strike Prop 8 down, and Judge N. Randy Smith voting to uphold the ban. The ruling regarding standing and the motion to throw out Judge Walker’s decision was a unanimous 3-0 vote.”

This is exciting news. Follow the link–Prop 8 Trial Tracker is the best resource for this case. It is the very same site, in fact, that live-blogged the original trial, over which Judge Vaughn Walker presided.

What’s next? According to the above resource, the proponents of Prop 8 could appeal either to have the case heard in front of the entire Ninth Circuit, or it could go to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court, obviously, is a very big deal. I doubt very much that the Court would refuse to hear this case, as it is one of the most popular and relevant questions in U.S. law at the moment.

I can’t wait to read the whole ruling, which is linked here. If I get a chance before work tonight (ha!) I’ll post my thoughts on it, as well as some choice snippets.

(Amusing side note: the Courage Campaign beat the New York Times in sending me an e-mail to inform me. Go CC!)

Judge Walker Rules Prop 8 UnConstitutional

I literally screamed out loud when I read this. I’d been following the trial on Prop 8 Trial Tracker–Judge Walker is one of the best allies I’ve ever seen–during the trial, he let no BS in his Court. Attorneys Ted Olsen and David Boies represented the plaintiffs in the case, officially called Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Olsen and Boies, if you recall, were opposing attorneys in the infamous Bush v. Gore case.

Here is an excerpt from the decision:

CONCLUSION
Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples.  Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis,the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

REMEDIES
Plaintiffs have demonstrated by overwhelming evidence that Proposition 8 violates their due process and equal protection rights and that they will continue to suffer these constitutional violations until state officials cease enforcement of Proposition 8.  California is able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as it has already issued 18,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples and has not suffered any demonstrated harm as a result, see FF 64-66; moreover, California officials have chosen not to defend Proposition 8 in these proceedings.

Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently enjoining its enforcement; prohibiting the official defendants from applying or enforcing Proposition 8 and directing the official defendants that all persons under their control or supervision shall not apply or enforce Proposition 8. The clerk is DIRECTED to enter judgment without bond in favor  of plaintiffs and plaintiff-intervenors and against defendants anddefendant-intervenors pursuant to FRCP 58.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Judge Walker found Proposition 8 illegal under both the Equal Protection and Due Process and quotes both Loving v. Virginia and Griswold v. Connecticut in his decision.

This is a huge victory. Celebrate it.

Because it will most certainly be appealed.

Read the whole decision here.

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