U.S. Supreme Court Reschedules Consideration to Hear Proposition 8 Case

U.S. Supreme Court Reschedules Consideration of Whether to Hear Proposition 8 Case 

Prop. 8 and DOMA Cases Now Distributed for Nov. 30 Conference 

Washington, DC – Today, the United States Supreme Court indicated that it has rescheduled the date when it will consider whether to grant review in Hollingsworth v. Perry (formerly Perry v. Brown), the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8.

The Perry case, along with several cases challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), have been distributed for consideration at the Justices’ private Conference scheduled for Friday, November 30. The Proposition 8 and DOMA cases had previously been distributed for the Conference of Tuesday, November 20. Continue reading

Local Reaction to Prop 8 Ruling

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Aug. 6, 2010

“We’re so filled with hope for same-sex couples in Boise and across the country who want to get married,” an Idaho couple told Citydesk.

Jade and Ria—who prefer to go by their first names—were among 18,000 couples legally married when they lived in California before Proposition 8 banned same-sex marriage. U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker struck down Prop. 8, Aug. 4 saying, “it disadvantages gays and lesbians without any rational justification” and it “violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.”

“The ruling declared that my wife and I are as human as straight people,” said Jade.

“Using the word ‘wife,’ with all the legal weight of the institution of marriage, is very important to me,” said Ria. “There’s no mistaking my wife for my business partner.”

“Judge Walker made detailed factual findings on three central questions,” said Monica Hopkins, executive director of ACLU of Idaho. “Whether gay people are bad for kids; Whether our relationships are the same or different from those of straight people; and how exactly allowing us to marry would harm heterosexual marriages. Those three questions are key touchstones of the marriage debate all across the country. To have them not only answered, but demolished on the facts after a full trial, is a turning point in the national discussion.”

The court found lesbian and gay couples are monetarily harmed by being banned from marriage, something Ria and Jade know well. “We would have gotten $3,000 more back in federal taxes last year if the federal government recognized our marriage.”

Walker ordered a temporary stay until Friday in order to give both sides a chance to file legal papers on an appeal process that is widely expected to make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We need to continue the fight for equal rights in Idaho and across the country. Everyone has a part to play in making that happen,” said Hopkins.

PROP 8 RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

CNN just reported U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled in today historic decision regarding the out come of the Proposition 8 trial Perry v. Schwarzenegger in favor of same-sex marriage. Proposition has been ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL and has been overturned.

SEE ALL THE VIDEO EVIDENCE IN CASE:

Prop 8 – Judge Walker’s Full Decision

Will Prop. 8 Decision Affect Idaho LGBT Community?

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com June 30, 2010

Both civil rights advocates and religious conservatives are waiting in anticipation of Federal Chief District Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision in California’s Proposition 8 landmark Perry v. Schwarzenegger case.

Filed over a year ago, the January trial challenged the constitutionality of the voter-initiative that banned same-sex marriage by just 52 percent of the popular vote in the November 2008 election.

Either way Walker decides, it’s likely to spark outrage. Should the decision go the way of the plaintiffs and Prop. 8 is overturned, many wonder how that will affect states like Idaho with constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. The consensus is there is likely to be a long court battle before we have a final answer.

Idaho Attorney General’s office spokesperson, Bob Cooper said,”It’s anticipated that it will be appealed both to the Ninth Circuit and to the Supreme Court regardless of which way it goes, so it’s really impossible to speculate on what impact, if any, it would have on Idaho. It’s going to depend on where it becomes a question of settled law and what the decision is.



ACLU of Idaho executive director, Monica Hopkins concurred. “It is difficult to speculate on these legal issues. However if Prop 8 is struck down we may see the issue before the Supreme Court. Until the legal question is solved by the courts we have no way of knowing how this may affect the Idaho constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.”

The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the non-profit organization funding the plaintiffs and assembled the legal team lead by Theodore Olson and David Boies.

Spokesperson Robb Yusef told BW, “We are eagerly waiting to see how the court will rule and trust the court will make the right decision. Either way the court rules the other side will appeal this to the circuit court and then we expect this to be appealed to the Supreme Court. We have committed to take this case all the way because we believe that peoples fundamental rights need to be guaranteed once and for all.”



The California Supreme Court ruled May 15, 2008, in a 4-3 decision that banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Marriage license for gays and lesbians began being issued June 1, 2008. Until the passage of Prop 8, 18,000 same-sex couples have been legally married. Thus far, efforts to invalidate those marriages have been unsuccessful and the outcome of this case will not affect them.

Boise Weekly’s requests for comment from Protect Marriage, the organization leading the Yes on Prop. 8 campaign, have not been returned.

Protect Marriage received $40 million in donations from all over the county. Of that sum, $22 million was from members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. At least $419,000 came from Idahoans, with the largest donation of $100,000 coming from Belinda VanderSloot, the wife of Idaho Falls conservative millionaire and Melaleuca CEO Frank L. VanderSloot.

LDS Church Backing SLC Gay Rights Ordinance Smells

Big news is circulating on the blog sphere that the Mormon Church backs protection of gay rights in Salt Lake City,” as reported by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owned and operated, Deseret News on Tuesday.

<small>Michael Otterson, Mormon Public Relations (Photo: Tom Smart, Deseret News)</small>

Michael Otterson, Mormon Public Relations (Photo: Tom Smart, Deseret News)

At a public hearing on an employment and housing ordinance, public affairs managing director Michael Otterson said, “The church supports this ordinance because it is fair and reasonable and does not do violence to the institution of marriage.”

LDS support of this ordinance is nothing more than a political strategy to divert attention from the growing Mormon public relations problem of its role in the systematic religious abuse on gays and lesbians.

In Otterson’s statement he suggests same-sex marriage does “violence to the institution of marriage” yet says nothing about violence the Mormon Church has perpetrated against gay and lesbian human beings for generations, and more recently, funding and directing discriminatory initiatives like California’s Prop 8 and Maine’s Question 1.

These same LDS public relations gurus, at the alleged direction of Church leaders, have carefully orchestrated a finely crafted a PR campaign that resulted in a popular vote in two states that by a small majority, that took civil rights away from a minority. Just how “fair and reasonable” is that Mr. Otterson?

Some may say Mormon support of the Salt Lake City ordinance is a step in the right direction; and although, if passed, is a good thing, I suggest as far as the LDS position on this is concerned, it is nothing more than staged publicity stunt and small thing to give up as part of the cost of doing their dirty business.

We Have A Dream Too, The Final Frontier of the Civil Rights Movement

Jody May-Chang©
November 11, 2008 PrideDEPOT.com

There is little doubt that even President-elect Obama’s opponents understand the significance and importance of electing the first African-American to the Presidency of the United States.

To witness a beautiful black family make it to the White House is moving beyond words and brought almost everyone I know to tears. Although it is naive to assume that Obama’s election is a panacea for curing all inequality, it is a monumental step forward. This election has elevated us all and serves as a powerful example to the world that character really does matter more than color.

While the country and the world watched and celebrated this historic victory, LGBT citizens took another devastating blow with the passage of California’s Proposition 8. While the country was lifted up with Obama’s message, “Yes we can!” LGBT citizens were smacked down with “No you can’t!”

This is a referendum on our humanity that has swept the country’s LGBT population with betrayal and yet another assault on our rights as American citizens and as human beings.

Last July, gay couples in California began to marry after the State Supreme Court ruled that the States ban was unconstitutional. Now only four months later, and with 18,000 marriages hanging in the balance, the passage of Proposition 8 overruled the court.

Although it is unclear what will happen with the 18,000 marriages, we do know that previously granted civil rights have been rescinded and discriminatory language will be added to the California State Constitution, disallowing equal protection to only LGBT citizens.

While the Obama presidency is being characterized as “a new progressive era,” LGBT citizens are still forced to defend our very personhood and fight for our right to exist equally under the law, and live as families. This is as repugnant to us as it has been for African-Americans, Native-Americans, Latinos and women who have all faced similar battles.

There is an anti-gay industry in America that consists of a large coordinated coalition of far right evangelical religious leaders, advocacy groups and right-wing politicians. Their major focus is to promote anti-gay legislation that restricts rights of LGBT American citizens. The anti-gay agenda is executed by people such as, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, The Catholic League, John Hagee, Pat Robertson, The LDS Church, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Micheal Savage, George W. Bush, Gen. Peter Pace and so many more.

This anti-gay industry works hard to degrade and dehumanize us by perpetuating stereotypes, misinformation and lies about us for political and financial gain, all the while stirring up bigotry and hatred. One of their propaganda messages is that homosexuals are hijacking the civil rights movement.

Such propaganda is designed for no other reason than to divide other minorities that have suffered similar injustices from identifying with the current struggles of LGBT people. This is the Rovian paradigm of divide and conquer in which the means justifies the end and where lies become truth no matter who gets hurt.

It is undeniable that there are striking similarities in our fight for civil rights equality with our African American brethren, most notably the issue of interracial marriage. Interracial marriage was still illegal in some states until 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Loving v. Virginia case that banning interracial marriage was a violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.

In the Loving case, Richard Loving, a white man and Mildred Jeter, a part African American and Native American woman were legally married in Washington DC in 1958. Upon their return to their home state of Virginia where interracial marriage was illegal, they were met in the privacy of their own bedroom one night by three police officers shining flashlights in their faces. Police demanded to know why Mr. Loving was in bed with “this lady.”? When a valid marriage license was presented, police told Mr. Loving “That’s no good here.”? The couple was arrested and convicted of a white person marrying a colored person but also for evading the state’s prohibition of the law on interracial marriage.

LGBT relationships endured the same threat of police intrusion into our private bedrooms, just as the Lovings experienced, as late as 2003 for violating state sodomy laws. It was illegal for two consenting adults of the same sex to have private sexual relations in their own homes. Those who were caught were charged and often jailed for “deviant sexual behavior”? and forced to endure many indignities such as having to register as sex offenders.

The anti-gay industry has re-packaged many of the long abandoned and rejected arguments of the 1950’s and 60’s that were used to oppose interracial marriage and applied them to same-sex marriage, and homosexuality in general. They contend that homosexuality is not natural, it will harm children, that the Bible says it is an abomination against God and same-sex marriage will destroy “traditional”? marriage.

This brand of hatred and cruelty is based on nothing but fear, ignorance and the desire for power and control over others who they do not want, or care, to understand. To allow marriage, or other civil rights, would be to admit we are human beings just like everyone else. Our very equality threatens their power structure and revenue stream.

The judge that convicted the Lovings in 1958 said, “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents and but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows he did not intend for the races to mix.”?

During that time others had said that it violated natural law and would lead to unhealthy children perhaps making them retarded or would create a mongrel breed.

These outdated opinions, based on prejudicial religious beliefs, have been long discounted and rejected when it comes to race yet they are still allowed to be injected into law to discriminate against LGBT American citizens.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State says, “First Amendment protects religious freedom and the right of religious groups not to marry same-sex couples. State constitutional and US Constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage reflects a fundamental disregard for individual civil rights of one class of people and ignores the first amendment rights of religious tradition or freedom from religious beliefs of a particularly theology whether that be a belief system of the majority or not. It is therefore government’s responsibility to dedicate itself to protecting the rights of all citizens, which includes gay and lesbian people.”?

In 1967 the United Supreme Court struck down bans on interracial marriage on the grounds that it violated the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the fourteenth amendment of the United States Constitution which reads:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

In his deciding opinion Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren said, “While the state court is no doubt correct in asserting that marriage is a social relation subject to the State’s police power, the State does not contend in its argument before this Court that its powers to regulate marriage are unlimited notwithstanding the commands of the Fourteenth Amendment.” Warren went on to say that, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal right essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”

Forty years later, Warren’s statements were echoed in the California Supreme Court decision just last May, where it was ruled that, “people have a fundamental ‘right to marry’ the person of their choice and that gender restrictions violate the state Constitution’s equal protection guarantee.”?

After the Loving v. Virginia was decided, the couple was interviewed by Ebony magazine where Richard Loving said, “For the first time, I could put my arm around her publically and call her my wife.” Mildred said, “I feel free now.”

Tell me how this is not the same struggle

Today it is unthinkable to keep two people from marrying one another because they are of a different ethnicity. What if some religious group tried to get an anti-interracial marriage measure on the ballot in just one state? It would never be allowed to happen. Yet, it just happened to us!


Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment: CA Prop. 8 & same-sex marriage