Kevin And Don Respond To Being Self Loathing

Looking back at their journey from the Stonewall Democratic Club to Log Cabin Republicans, they claim it was one that was actually started by the democrats. After being told that marriage as not a priority on the agenda in 1995, they became disillusioned with the DEMS. For a decade they felt like they did not belong until they met the republicans of the Log Cabin Republican Club and discovered they too shared a dream of marriage equality. This blog is now a digital time capsule of their time as Republicans and moderated by a friend and supporter.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Now Thinkable In California: We Might Be For Sale

Proposition 8 Dangers of Ruling for Standing By Melanie Nathan San Francisco - Yesterday, the California Supreme Court heard arguments on an important question of California law that has arisen in Perry v. Brown, the ongoing federal challenge to Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot measure that stripped the fundamental right to marry from same-sex couples in California. The California Attorney General and the California Governor agreed with the federal district court Judge Vaughn R. Walker’s decision that indeed same-sex couples have the inherent right to marry; that Prop 8 is unconstitutional and decided not to appeal. The Prop 8 proponents, however, want to defend the case in their stead. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals referred to the California Supreme Court asking whether state law gives the sponsors of Prop 8 special authority to appeal the holding that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. After a decision is handed down from yesterday, the case will go back to the Ninth Circuit for a decision on whether the Prop 8 sponsors can pursue their federal court appeal of Judge Walker’s decision. So to be clear, the question of standing does not end with the decision of yesterday’s bench, which should be handed down within 90 days. The California Supreme Court may hold that initiative sponsors do not have any special power under state law to step in and override the decisions of the California Attorney General and Governor. If that happens, the Ninth Circuit will likely rule that the Prop 8 supporters cannot appeal the ruling. That would mean that the Ninth Circuit would dismiss the appeal, Judge Walker’s ruling would stand, and same-sex couples would once again be able to marry in California. Alternatively, if the California Supreme Court rules that California law gives initiative sponsors the extraordinary power to step into the shoes of elected officials for purposes of defending Prop 8, the Ninth Circuit will have to decide whether that is enough to give them standing to appeal Judge Walker’s decision. If so, then the Ninth Circuit will permit the appeal to proceed and will either affirm or reverse Judge Walker’s decision invalidating Prop 8. I may have been one of those who succumbed to the idea that the Justices’ line of questioning served as an indicator of their decision, yet to be made; however overnight , after giving it some thought, I realized that the questions did not cover some of the pertinent aspects that could render the group with no standing. I am with NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, who states: “It would be an unthinkable blow to California’s democratic system of government if the handful of individuals who sponsored Prop 8 could make decisions for the entire state. Today’s arguments raised critical questions affecting the future of all groups who may be targeted by unconstitutional ballot initiatives, and the California Supreme Court’s decision will determine whether our state can be held hostage by special interests with no accountability to the public. We are hopeful that the Court will affirm that a handful of private citizens representing only their own narrow interests cannot usurp the role of the duly elected officials of the state of California.” However from the questioning it seemed that if the Justices rule that California law gives the proponents standing under California law, the implication would be that the authority of the proponents would then derive from the fact that the initiative had been voted for by a majority of California “voters” – as opposed to the Constitutional empowerment of the Attorney General and Governor. This would be extremely dangerous as there is no legislation that empowers the proponents. This would then be a case where the bench legislates. However if the Justices sent it back to the Federal Court, without an affirming decision, simply stating that there is no California law to empower the proponents, then they would avoid having to make a decision with such mind blowing implications. By Melanie Nathan REPRINTED FOR POLITICAL COMM

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Proposition 8 California's Fractured Fairy Tale

Tani Cantil-Sakauye

California's antiquated initiative process has been around for over 100 years and is politically fracturing. However for more than a century, Oregon has led the country in direct democracy, with the state’s voters confronting more initiatives than other Americans.

California should take notice. As Californians struggle to redesign their own century-old direct democracy, people around the world are studying the Oregon example, seeking lessons about what works, and what doesn’t, in citizen legislation.

But in California the debate is harming the process.

Perhaps the original Prop 8 decision that it was an amendment and that the removal of civil rights is permitted by a simply majority vote of the people is wrong. Perhaps where no injury is shown at the trial level and there is no economic or physical harm to third parties, in matters of Civil rights, these things cannot be addressed by an initiative amendment.

Proponents of Proposition 8 argued that Yes on 8 must be granted. Yes argues un-elected individuals with money can buy standing to defend the California same-sex marriage ban in federal court to protect the power of simply majorityn rule of the people to freely amend the state constitution to remove civil rights from a targeted minority (and forget the Republican form of government idea Jefferson created).

The opponents argued Yes on 8 must be denied standing in order to protect the power of the people to elected state officers, in accordance with the state constitution.

The seven-member California Supreme Court is in trouble. If they permit standing, they confer Article 3 standing by judicial fiat on private organization with private funds to argue at a federal level that the initiative process can remove civil rights from a protected class by a simple majority vote.

The 9th Circuit seemed troubled in the same way and sent the question back to the California Supreme Court.

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals sent the question about legal standing to the California Supreme Court. Until they receive the state court’s opinion on the matter, the federal appeals panel has postponed ruling on the legal authority of Yes on 8 to appeal a federal district court decision that struck down Proposition 8.

California has about until Wednesday, December 6, 2011 to issue it ruling. Unless both courts agree that Yes on 8 does have standing, the federal appeals panel cannot rule on whether that federal district court ruling will stand.

The complicated question, in simple form, is this: If state legal officers, elected by the people, decide not to appeal a federal district court decision involving the state violating federal civil rights (Equal Protection), can some other entity (privately funded with no showing of harm) represent the people in defending a law approved by a majority of voters to deny civil rights to a targeted minority?

Look for yourself, there is nothing in the California constitution or laws that permit Yes on 8 to appeal when the government decides not to.

Unfortunately Justice Joyce Kennard thinks it would the court to “nullify” the people’s power to pass initiatives, leaving the people “unrepresented.” [Apparently even when a minority's civil rights are at stake.

To grant Yes on 8 standing to appeal a civil rights decision to the effect of removing civil rights my a simple majority vote in California on a federal decision that the state elected officers decided not to appeal amounts to harming the inherent checks and balances in the California system.

The position that when the governor and the state attorney general do not have to defend federal rulings that find the state violated the constitutional rights of a minority is logical.

The constitution does not give anyone else authority to defend state law, including initiatives, in federal court.

Yes on 8 represent money interests, suffered no actual injury and have taken no oath to represent the people.

Goodwin Liu is concerned that the Yes side has invested a lot and presumably this somehow buys them the right to argue against civil rights.

But spending a lot of money on an initiative should not grant proponents of an initiative the legal right to defend it.

But, it seems like a veto power over initiatives in extremely limited matters. Those situations arise where there is no actual injury by appellants and it is a matter of Civil Rights and left to the governor and attorney general to decide in the powers reserved to them.

The LGBT community has been the initiative target before due in part to the Court’s past reluctance to enforce any meaningful limits on the process, by deeming a revision a revision when it removes fundamental rights to a minority group in California.

I believe the Court will finally do the right thing and decide that small groups of unelected individuals who are answerable to no one should not be able to act on behalf of the state.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Bias and Bigoted Are Exposed In The Judiciary

As a gay man who believes he understands the law, I was assaulted by the intellectual biased bigotry from some of California's top jurists. This is some of what I heard. The bias is subtextual and subliminal but it is there. It is the blatant attempt to marginalize gay and lesbian marriages. Justice Ming Chin said, "When you have one side not represented, it seems to me that the right to enact an initiative is illusory." Charles Cooper, a lawyer for the sponsors, quoted a 1978 decision in which the state high court said, "It is our solemn duty to jealously guard the initiative process." Cooper argued, "The proponents have a right to propose a valid constitutional amendment. They therefore have the right to defend its validity." Theodore Olson, a lawyer for the couples, contended that while the state Constitution gives citizens the right to propose and approve initiatives, it gives only the governor and attorney general the authority to decide whether to defend them. "There is nothing in the California Constitution or statutes that gives private citizens the right to take over the attorney general's responsibilities," he argued. But Justice Joyce Kennard said, "It appears to me that to agree with you would be to nullify the great power of the initiative that the people have reserved to themselves." Justice Goodwin Liu, the court's newest member, said the Proposition 8 sponsors "have put in a substantial amount more time and effort on the initiative and they controlled the ballot arguments on it." "Just commonsensically, isn't it the case that they are the one who are most clearly invested in the success of the initiative?" Liu asked. Yes the do Justice Lie because the appeal has been bought and paid for. It sickens me. It is sad that, no tragic, that it does not sicken you. I grew up as a lawyer knowing basic principals of standing and venue. Some of the Justices must remember almost 30 years ago when the Supreme Court ruled that a person who had been subjected to a chokehold by Los Angeles police officers lacked standing to challenge the constitutionality of that procedure because he could not show that he personally would be likely to be choked again. This man was attached physically and he could not challenge a procedure because he could not show that he would be harmed again. The Supremes were so tough they found that being harmed only once was not sufficient. I still do not understand the harm of marriage. Further, most of you jurists out there must remember that the Supreme Court held that no one had standing to challenge the George W. Bush administration's grant of funds to religious institutions to provide social services. The court stressed that no one was directly injured, even though there was a claim that this was an impermissible establishment of religion in violation of the 1st Amendment.