Tag Archive: Prop 8

SCOTUS: DOMA Struck Down; Dismisses Prop 8

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Equal Right to Marry photo imagesqtbnANd9GcQmD05y7D9pRuFTg2wtz_zpsbcb78269.jpg The Supreme Court ruled on two important cases for the LGBT community: Windsor v. U.S., addressing the Defense of Marriage Act, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, addressing California’s Proposition 8.

On DOMA, which was signed into law by Pres. Bill Clinton in 1996, the court ruled (pdf) that same-sex spouses legally married in a state may receive federal benefits. Justice Kennedy delivered the court’s opinion, and was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito all filed dissenting opinions. While the ruling is a victory on the federal level, the 5- 4 ruling does not effect a state’s right to ban same sex marriage.

“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”

The plaintiff who brought the case, Edie Windsor, 84, will now get her refund for the $363,000 in federal estate taxes she paid after her spouse, Thea Spyer, died in 2009.

In the Prop 8 case, that was argued before the court by attorneys, Theodore Olson and David Boies, the court decided, again by a 5 – 4 decision, that the opponents of same sex marriage have no standing to sue. The ruling allows gay couples in California to marry.

“We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “We decline to do so for the first time here.”

Roberts was joined in his majority opinion by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan. Justice Anthony Kennedy filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor.

The judgement of the Ninth Circuit was vacated and the case remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

California voters added Proposition 8 to the state’s constitution in 2008 through a ballot initiative that reversed the state Supreme Court’s recognition of same-sex marriage earlier that year. Two same-sex couples challenged the ban in federal court, and by the time their suit reached the justices, two lower courts had declared it unconstitutional.

After the disappointing ruling yesterday striking down a key part of the Voting Rights Act, this is truly a great day for equal rights in the US.

The Fight For Marriage Equality

Cross posted fro The Stars Hollow Gazette

“8”: A Play about the Fight for Marriage Equality

Featuring an all-star cast including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jane Lynch, Kevin Bacon and others, “8” is a play written by Academy Award winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and directed by acclaimed actor and director Rob Reiner. It is a powerful account of the case filed by the American Federation for Equal Rights (AFER ) in the U.S. District Court in 2010 to overturn Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that eliminated the rights of same-sex couples to marry in the state of California. Framed around the trial’s historic closing arguments in June 2010, 8 provides an intimate look what unfolded when the issue of same-sex marriage was on trial.

This was a live production of the reading of Dustin Lance Black’s “8″, a play based on the transcripts from the hearings before Judge Vaughn Walker on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 which banned state sanctioned same sex marriage. I join Teddy Partridge in his congrats to Judge Walker for having Brad Pitt play his roll. George Clooney and Martin Sheen play Daivd Boies and Ted Olson, the lawyers who argued the case for the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Also, Kevin Bacon plays Charles J. Cooper, the lead attorney for supporters of Proposition 8, and Jane Lynch is Maggie Gallagher, co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage. The actual play is about 90 minutes.

In February, a three judge panel of the 9th Circuit upheld Judge Walker’s decision. The supporters of Proposition 8 asked the Ninth Circuit to grant them an en banc rehearing of the 2 to 1 decision.

9th Circuit Court Rules CA Prop 8 Unconstitutional

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This morning the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that California’s Prop 8 is unconstitutional striking down the ban on gay marriage under both the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment. The ruling is limited and specific to California only.

“Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California,” the court said.

The ruling upheld a decision by retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who struck down the ballot measure in 2010 after holding an unprecedented trial on the nature of sexual orientation and the history of marriage.

The ruling makes same sex marriage legal again in California but it is expected that the court will not permit marriages to take place while the appeals are in progress. The backers of Prop 8 have stated that they will appeal this ruling but have not said if they would request a the full 9th Court to hear the appeal or take it directly to the US Supreme Court.

Ninth Circuit Prop. 8 decision

On Saving Us From The Immoral, Or “Ready, Fire…Aim!”

It was about a week ago that we saw the ruling throwing out California’s Prop 8; that decision has now been appealed, and we will see, at some point in the future, how the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handles the matter.

A couple of days later, I had a story up that walked through the ruling, describing the tactics used by the Prop 8 proponents, which, in the opinion of the Judge who looked at the evidence, were basically to try to scare Californians into thinking that gay people, once they’re able to get gay married, will somehow now be free to evangelize your kids and make them gay, too.

In the course of answering comments on the several sites where the story is up, I noticed that there were those who felt the Bible should be guiding our thinking here…that if it did, we would be better off than where we are today, with all those immoral gay people running around free to do all those immoral gay things.

This led me to an obvious question: are those who have been using the Bible as a sort of “divining rod” to figure out who is immoral and who is not…actually any good at it?

On Organized Fearmongering Revealed, Or, “Lock Up The Kids…It’s The Gay!”

The airwaves (and the print and blog waves, for that matter) are filled with the news that a Federal Judge in California has declared that State’s Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional, which could clear the way for the resumption of same-sex weddings in the State.

Ordinarily, this would be the point where I would present to you a walkthrough of the ruling, and we’d have a fine conversation about the legal implications of what has happened.

I’m not doing that today, frankly, because the ground is already well-covered; instead, we’re going to take a look at some of the tactics that were used to pass Prop 8, as they were presented in Judge Vaughan’s opinion.

It’s an ugly story-and even more than that, it’s a reminder of why it’s tough to advance civil rights through the political process, and what you have to deal with when you’re trying to make such a thing happen.

Civil rights and election fraud: New study asks, ‘Was Prop 8 straight?’

Today, the BRAD BLOG is reporting that there’s a fair chance Prop 8 was not decided by bigoted voters, but by “fraud or gross errors” in the election.  From WasProp8Straight.org:

A new analysis of independent exit polls conducted in L.A. County at the November 2008 election indicates significant likelihood that the official vote counts are incorrect. It is indeed possible that the California state constitution was amended to strip marriage rights of some of the state’s people as a result of vote counts that were incorrect and possibly even fraudulent.

A “no” vote for Prop 8 meant that you wanted marriage equality.  In some places in Los Angeles, the difference between the official vote totals and this study were a not so alarming 2%, but in other places they approached a shocking 18%.  Just to clarify, this study is saying that in some places the actual votes that people cast differed from what was recorded by the state by nearly 18%.  And Prop 8 passed by a margin of less than 5% of the vote.

Prop 8 Fight

 The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the leading the effort by Ted Olson and David Boies, who are the lead attorneys in the case to invalidate Prop. 8’s gay marriage ban, now has a website up.


The American Foundation for Equal Rights is dedicated to protecting and advancing equal rights for every American.

Through its groundbreaking federal court case against California’s Proposition 8, The Foundation is leading the fight for marriage equality and equality under the law for every American.

Big Breaking Update! Make $10 Into $20 By Supporting Marriage Equality In Maine!

So, the Dog very rarely posts on the same issue in the same week, but this is a kind of breaking and important news, so please forgive the old hound as he breaks his own rules. As you may know, the great State of Maine has passed marriage equality for its gay citizens. This is a very, very big deal as it is the first State to do so without litigation as the basis of the action by the legislature. Mainers, being the good small d democrats they are also have what is known as a citizens veto provision. If you live in Maine and can get the signatures, you can get a vote to override action by the legislature. This is what is happening now in Maine. The Anti’s (the theocratic forces who don’t think all citizens should have equal rights to marry) have gotten the signatures and are trying to override the legislature.

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

Update: You People Rock! We have already raised the 10,000 required to get the matching 10,000 from our anonymous donor. He is so impressed that he has agreed to match everything up to 20,000 raised by midnight EST Friday. We are already at 16,098 right now, so we only have to raise 3,902 in the next 11 hours!

So, if you have not donated, here is you very last chance to make you money count twice as much towards full civil rights for all citizens!

Election News Roundup: 5/15/09-5/26/09 – Prop 8 Special EditionElection News Roundup: 5/15/09-5/26/

Election reform is one of the most important issues facing our country and our world right now, even if it doesn’t get the coverage of torture or abortion.  The way that we run our elections and initiative processes determines who makes policy, the type of policy made, and the tone of our political discourse.  If we ignore it or take advantage of the electoral system, we our doing ourselves and our republic a disservice.

This week:  The results to last week’s poll, a lawsuit to ban electronic voting, “The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny,” online voting in Honolulu, the Progressive Party makes progress, photo ID laws, Sotomayor’s election law history, the disappearance of secretaries of state, and more.

But first, I want to say something about Prop 8 and the recent court ruling.  It is outrageous that gay people in California now do not have equal rights, but the court ruling was more on how the initiative process works, and how Prop 8 fits into the state constitution than it was about gay rights.  There has been a lot of oversimplification of the issues of the court ruling and the initiative process, so I’d like to dispel some of that (as much as an amateur election reform activist can…).  Please follow me below the fold.

Crossposted at Dailykos.com, Opednews.com, and Congressmatters.com

Prop 8 ruling not that bad.

(reprinted from a comment in Buhdy’s essay.)

After reading today’s Prop 8 opinion, the court’s ruling is not nearly as bad as some have made it sound.

   Instead, the measure carves out a narrow and limited exception to these state constitutional rights, reserving the official designation of the term “marriage” for the union of opposite-sex couples as a matter of state constitutional law, but leaving undisturbed all of the other extremely significant substantive aspects of a same-sex couple’s state constitutional right to establish an officially recognized and protected family relationship and the guarantee of equal protection of the laws.



   By clarifying this essential point, we by no means diminish or minimize the significance that the official designation of “marriage” holds for both the proponents and opponents of Proposition 8; indeed, the importance of the marriage designation was a vital factor in the majority opinion’s ultimate holding in the Marriage Cases, supra, 43 Cal.4th 757, 845-846, 855. Nonetheless, it is crucial that we accurately identify the actual effect of Proposition 8 on same-sex couples’ state constitutional rights, as those rights existed prior to adoption of the proposition, in order to be able to assess properly the constitutional challenges to the proposition advanced in the present proceeding. We emphasize only that among the various constitutional protections recognized in the Marriage Cases as available to same-sex couples, it is only the designation of marriage – albeit significant – that has been removed by this initiative measure.

Basically, the court is saying that same sex couples can have all of the same rights and privileges afforded to straight couples; they just can’t call it ‘marriage’.  Not the ideal outcome obviously, but in terms of legal protections for same sex couples, the court’s ruling neuters the potential effect of Prop. 8 to mere semantics.

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