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

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.

Chris Armstrong & Student Government

Like I mentioned here, student government can get pretty intense. At least, that was my experience, and the experience of my colleagues. But this?

Is beyond the pale. Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell, of Michigan, has been stalking and harassing University of Michigan’s openly gay student body president Chris Armstrong. AAG Shirvell even has a blog dedicated to bullying this young man!

David Layton, Democratic candidate for Michigan Attorney General, has released a statement demanding current AG Mike Cox fire Shirvell, as well as called for his opponent, Republican Bill Schuette to join him in condemning Shirvell’s actions and demanding his termination.

Mike Cox, current Attorney General, had refused to fire Shirvell, saying that “All state employees have a right to free speech outside working hours. But Mr. Shirvell’s immaturity and lack of judgment outside the office are clear.” So he thinks his Assistant Attorney General is immature and has a lack of judgment, but still thinks he’s worthy of being an employee of the Michigan Justice Department?

Chris has responded only once during this debacle–he made a statement during a student government meeting. Everyone has lauded his grace and dignity in handling this harassment and degeneration of his character and of his person. I laud his strength and his dedication–my colleagues and I dealt with plenty of insults and criticism of our every move, though nothing to the level of what Chris is dealing with. And it was hard.

What everyone forgot was that we were college students–we had a full load of classes, with books to read, papers to write, and research to do, just like they did. We had families, friends, and partners to spend time with just like everyone else. Most of us were involved in other campus organizations, clubs, honor societies, or athletics.We were in student government because we wanted to help. We wanted to make the university a better, friendlier, cheaper, and more convenient experience for us, our friends, and all the other students, current and future. Our intentions were good. We weren’t evil Politician Jr’s, looking to take over the university and better our situations at the expense of everyone else.

What everyone forgot was the time we invested. The executive cabinet regularly devoted 40 hours a week to student government–they were only required, by the Student Government’s Constitution, to devote 8-12 hours a week, depending on their position. We met with administrators & professors. We met with student groups and individuals, listening to the issues they had, and the things they wanted to do, but needed money to put in motion. We filled out paperwork and wrote legislation. We coordinated with other student governments in the state’s universities to rally in Frankfort to meet with legislators to talk about higher education funding. Senators were only required to attend the weekly Senate meeting and attend one committee meeting a week. Many were much more involved than that, spending hours in the office, working alongside exec.

I don’t doubt that Chris does the same. Knowing you’re doing everything you can to help your campus community, and knowing that some will continue to criticize every move you make, every word you say, despite that you’re the same age, with the same experiences, bugs the crap out of you. It cut us to the core–we had no experience dealing with something like that. We never imagined, and no one ever told us that we might be thrust in the spotlight because of our work behind the scenes.

We talked about it a lot. We wanted to say, “if you don’t like what we’re doing, or what we aren’t doing, why don’t you join student government? Why don’t you try to make change? We will help you. We will throw our resources and our experience behind you.” Eventually, we said it. No dice. The critics were fine with insulting our ability, our motives, our intelligence, but they didn’t want to help fix the “problems” they saw.

It could be hard, since the student newspaper without fail would give them a platform to spew their venom. They ate it up.The difference between our situation and Chris’ is that he is being attacked because of who he is. This is undoubtedly not the first time, and undoubtedly not the last. Because of the idea that expressing your “opinions” in your treatment of others is not only okay, but vital in keeping your “freedom,” that respect is “PC” and therefore undesirable, shit like this happens.

Chris is lucky. He has the support of his university, his professors, and his peers. But he is unlucky that this man is in a position of power over the entire state. This man has resources to drive across the state the follow him on campus, to his home, to the homes of his friends and their parents. This man also, judging from his appearance on CNN, has no compunction about using the power of his office to further prosecute, harass, and intimidate Chris, should the opportunity arise.

I cannot imagine the extent of the stress Chris is under right now. I can identify with the sort of experience that he is dealing with, but not the scale, and certainly not being attacked on a national scale because of who I am.

University of Michigan students, thank you for standing by Chris. Continue to stand by him. Not only because he’s your President. Not only because he’s a member of the UM family. But because he is a human being, and no one, no one, deserves such treatment.

I’m so heartened to read this article from the Michigan Daily, UM’s campus newspaper, both because Shirvell is being disciplined, and because the UM community is rallying so fervently behind Chris. Thank you. Thank you, to everyone at UM.

Chris is one of many. Many LGBT kids, students, adults, and elderly are attacked, harassed, tortured, and killed for simply being who they are. Continue to rally around Chris, and show your support for not only him, but the entire community of people he represents on this planet: the gay community.

Here are some suggestions:

-Continue to write letters to the campus newspaper expressing your support of Chris and the LGBT community.

-Write a letter to your hometown newspaper, sharing what’s happening to Chris, and why it’s so important to express support of the LGBT members of your hometown.

-Post a sign in your dorm window, door, or on your car, expressing support for the LGBT community, and for Chris, and his right to live free of harassment, stalking, and attacks on his character and person.

-Join your campus LGBT group. Learn how you can be an ally, just be standing in solidarity with them, or by getting involved as an activist.

-Most importantly, call out friends and family members when they say bigoted or hateful things toward the gay community. People like Shirvell operate because they feel like, not only are they right, but everyone else agrees with their hatred of a vulnerable community. If it is safe to do so, do the same in public, too.

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:

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.

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.


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.

Inspiration: the Little Things Edition

As part of Western’s Erase The Hate week, there was a showing of the film Milk on South Lawn. I’ve seen the movie three or four times now, and it never fails. You know those movies that just make you cry–every time? Milk is one of those movies for me.

If you haven’t seen it, you should. If you have, you should watch it again.

The people of Castro moved. It started with Harvey Milk, but the gay community moved, they fought, and they won. It was a beautiful grassroots movement.

It was chilly and damp, but fifteen or twenty of us sat in the grass and toughed it out. We laughed. We made a sarcastic comment here and there. But mostly we just sat and watched in companionable silence. Sometimes it’s the little things that inspire you. Sometimes it’s the little things that give you the energy to brace your shoulders and confront the world.

Tomorrow is just another day, but maybe I can do something good tomorrow. Who knows, maybe you can, too.

(Now I’m going to get my butt in bed, because otherwise, my body is not going to be happy with me.)