Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Prop. 8, Four Years Later

We all knew this day would come.

Even as the votes were tallied and California voters opted to pass Proposition 8, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, those of us on the fight's frontlines knew it wasn't over. A sigh, perhaps, of temporary relief - we cleared one hurdle, won one battle. But we knew the fight wouldn't end until the case was ruled on by the Supreme Court.

And that time is now.

Prop. 8 is a tender subject for me. In many ways, being as involved hands on as I was really, truly changed my life for the better - but it wasn't about marriage, then or now.

For me, it was about integrity.

I believe in prophets. I believe in continuing revelation. I accept that while I may not see what lies ahead for us, and I may not understand what the consequences of varied courses of action may have, I do know that God has called men to be prophets, seers, and revelators. They are watchmen on the tower, and they receive guidance from God regarding how to act and advise for the best of God's children.

It's easy to follow the prophet when his requests aren't all that demanding. But what do you do when they truly test your soul and commitment and endurance?

As my hero Neal A. Maxwell put it, "Not shrinking is more important than surviving."

Well, I've never been one to shrink.

And so, while I know it's an unpopular stance, and while I know I may lose friends over this, I want to once again reaffirm that I support Proposition 8. There's a plethora of reasons I could give, supported and driven by hours upon hours of research I pored into the issue in 2008, but at the end of the day, it comes down to this: men who I sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators specifically asked my peers and myself via satellite broadcast in October 2008 to get involved in support of Proposition 8. I personally walked out of that fireside with strong, bold, clear direction about how specifically I was supposed to engage. My friend Heather and I hopped online immediately upon returning home and set up Preserving Marriage, springboarding from the LDS Church's website PreservingMarriage.org, as a group blog for several of our friends and ourselves to share insights and reasons for supporting traditional marriage. I spent hours of my evenings making phone calls; I spent Saturdays walking the streets of San Juan Capistrano to go door to door, explaining why the proposition made sense.

It wasn't easy. For one thing, some of my dearest, favorite, cherished friends are gay. I love them. I want them to be happy, and I know that they want marriage. I support them in their relationships. For another thing, getting involved in this made my friends and me targets of hatred and vitriol. Some even lost their livelihoods over it; goodness knows we all lost friends over the issue. Clearly "tolerance" only applies when you're arguing on one side of the issue. For those of us on the other side, no holds were barred in mocking, shaming, scorn, and insults.

But still, I knew that I aligned my actions with my belief in following the prophets, and regardless of what anyone else thinks on the matter, I know in my heart that I did what God asked. And I know that my life has been enriched immeasurably for acting with faith, integrity, and courage.

Meanwhile, I wish people could see the issue from my side of the line. It's not about hate or fear or homophobia or any negative emotion. It's about a firmly rooted belief in God and trust in His word. He is not a fickle God, and what He declares, He does for a reason. Yes, I understand that that line of reasoning doesn't hold up in today's forum of ideas -- in fact, the irreligious would argue it isn't "reasoning" in the first place. I don't care. I believe that respect is a two-way street. I would never shun or shame someone for taking a stand because I understand and respect that they reached that conclusion from a life experience that differs from mine. I would hope others would permit me the same space and freedom.

And so, honestly, when it comes to the court ruling... I'm ambivalent. I will be shocked to see Prop. 8 upheld. I just plain don't think it will happen. But regardless of that, I am proud to have taken a stand when it wasn't easy or popular because I knew it was right according to the beliefs I profess. I don't expect others to understand, but I hope they will appreciate that integrity, and I hope they will understand it's possible to unfailingly love all of God's children, regardless of their actions and choices, while still toeing the line God has drawn.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Olympic Gold Medalist Steps Down Amid Prop. 8 Protests

Long time, no see, huh, readers? Life moves along at a swift pace, but my heart is still with the fight for religious freedom and seeking equality and tolerance for all - not just those in vogue in our ever-complicating world.

Like so.

Yesterday a friend posted this Orange County Register article to Facebook about how Olympic gold medalist - and Latter-day Saint - Peter Vidmar has stepped down from serving as chef de mission for Team USA in the 2012 Olympics amid outcries against his support of Prop. 8.

In the editorial piece, Register editor David Whiting provides a breath of fresh air by maintaining that while he disagrees with Vidmar's stance, he doesn't think that should bar Vidmar from serving in this capacity, one that has nothing to do with marriage, religion or politics.

I have a great deal of respect for Whiting, having worked with him a bit at the Register and read his work over the years, and I really appreciated his viewpoint. To me, this is what tolerance should be. You have your opinion, I have mine, they may be diametrically opposed - but that's okay. We can all respect one another and not let personal beliefs get in the way of public service.

Here's the email I penned to David that I wanted to share with you all. I would've left it as a comment on the article, but the system wouldn't log me in - feel free to add a comment on there as well:

Hi, David -

Just a note regarding your Peter Vidmar article: the name of the LDS Church should always be The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on first reference, Mormon Church or LDS Church on subsequent references. "Latter Day Saints" is incorrect. Not to be nitpicky, but as a Reg alumna, I hate seeing errors go uncorrected. :)

And thanks for your piece, supporting Vidmar despite a differing opinion. I would've left this comment on the piece, but the system wasn't letting me sign in. Anyways, I, too, was involved with Prop. 8 with the LDS Church, and I have seen so many friends be basically blackballed for their participation. One friend was the gallery manager at Jonathan Adler in Newport Beach until the LGBT community threw such a fit that she was axed. It's discriminatory and wrong, and I find it so ironic, coming from a group that preaches "tolerance." It seems like that tolerance only goes one way. Personally, one of my best friends is gay, he's in a great relationship, and I couldn't be happier. I have another gay friend who is engaged and am happy for him to have found a great match. My reason for supporting Prop. 8 has more to do with religious freedoms and rights, something that might seem ancillary and secondary to the freedom to wed. There are so many instances where churches' hands have been forced in the name of "anti-discriminatory" rulings to act contrary to their beliefs, from a Christian church in New Jersey that views homosexuality as a sin being forced to allow gay marriage in its camp's chapel (even though they said the couple could wed anywhere on their site EXCEPT in the chapel, which they felt was inappropriate, seeing as the ceremony diametrically opposed their doctrine) to Catholic Charities in Mass. stopping their adoption services because they couldn't specify that children could only go to heterosexual couples (again, despite homosexuality being against their beliefs) to a Christian doctor being forced to personally treat a lesbian couple with IVF even though she said she was uncomfortable doing so because of her beliefs but would happily have another doctor at the practice help them. The list goes on and on.

When it comes to rights, the only "right" lacking for gay couples is to not have their union legally solemnized. Other than that, they have every right a heterosexual couple does, thanks to great equality laws on the books and the ability to give one's partner power of attorney. Beyond that, it's the social recognition they crave, and they can have a celebration and ceremony without scrubbing every reference to "husband and wife" on the books or altering the education curriculum to promote homosexuality as an equal if not preferable lifestyle, starting with kindergarteners (again, it's happened, I'm not pulling this from thin air). That's my opinion, for what it's worth. Regardless, I do respect and appreciate ALL people for the contributions they bring to the table, and I get tired of being labeled a "religious fanatic" or "bigot" for my viewpoint when I'm one of the most accepting, least discriminatory people out there. My heart goes out to Peter Vidmar for the same. I've had the privilege of meeting him on a handful of occasions and hearing him speak since my teen years. What a phenomenal, kind, big-hearted man! It's a shame that he's being stopped from serving in a way that would benefit the Team USA in the 2012 Games, just as it's a shame to see discrimination in any way, shape or form in the public arena (or private, really, for that matter).

Thanks again for your thoughtful, balanced piece, David. I hope all is well at my much-beloved Register!

Christa [LAST NAME]
(formerly of [the community papers where I wrote])

PS: Just an observation - the way you refer to the protests on every major intersection during Prop. 8 seems to imply that the protests were against it when, in fact, it was mixed (and more were FOR Prop. 8, if anything). It's a bit misleading. Perhaps interjecting something along the lines of "protests for both sides" would clarify?
Honestly, friends, it is disappointing - albeit not all that surprising - that we're still dealing with this. I don't think it will ever end, frankly, and that's a little harrowing, especially when I was so publicly on the front lines. As the balance leans more and more in favor of gay rights in our anything-goes society - ever-moving away from supporting religion, God, or so many of the foundational American principles I hold dear - we're just going to see this more and more frequently. May we all be able to stand firmly together and leave a record, for God and for our posterity, that we held our ground and did not flinch, no matter what.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gay marriages halted during Prop. 8 appeals process

This just in from the AP:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Gay couples who had been gearing up to get married in California this week had to put their wedding plans on hold once again after a federal appeals court said it first wanted to consider the constitutionality of the state's same-sex marriage ban.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals imposed an emergency stay Monday on a trial court judge's ruling overturning the ban, known as Proposition 8. Chief U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker had ordered state officials to stop enforcing the measure starting Wednesday, clearing the way for county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"It's saddening just to know that we still have to keep waiting for this basic human right," Marcia Davalos, of Los Angeles, a health care advocate who had planned to marry her partner, Laurette Healey, said when the stay was issued Monday. "We were getting excited and then all of a sudden it's like, 'Ugh.' It's a roller-coaster."

Lawyers for the two gay couples who challenged the ban said Monday they would not appeal the panel's decision on the stay to the U.S. Supreme Court. They said they were satisfied the appeals court had agreed to fast-track its consideration of the Proposition 8 case by scheduling oral arguments for the week of Dec. 6.

"Today's order from the 9th Circuit for an expedited hearing schedule ensures that we will triumph over Prop. 8 as quickly as possible," said Chad Griffin, president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, a group funding the effort to get the voter-approved gay marriage ban permanently overturned. "Our attorneys are ready to take this case all the way through the appeals court and to the United States Supreme Court."

Attorneys for backers of the voter-approved measure applauded the decision. In seeking the emergency stay, they had argued that sanctioning same-sex unions while the case was on appeal would create legal chaos if the ban is eventually upheld.

"Invalidating the people's vote based on just one judge's opinion would not have been appropriate, and would have shaken the people's confidence in our elections and the right to vote itself," said Andy Pugno, general counsel for the coalition of religious and conservative groups that sponsored Proposition 8.

Under the timetable laid out Monday, it was doubtful a decision would come down from the 9th Circuit before next year.
To read more, click here for the full article.

I'm pleased by this turn of events, simply because it would be a legal nightmare if, in the end, Prop. 8 is upheld - yet there are a huge number of people who wouldn't have been able to marry under Prop. 8. Even some of my anti-Prop. 8 / pro-gay marriage friends agree with this. What a relief! Now we get another round of wait-and-see...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One more thought

A fellow marriage blogger directed me to this recent talk from Russell M. Nelson, an LDS leader. Regardless of your personal faith, his argument makes a lot of sense - it was too good to not share:

Even the definition of marriage is now a topic of heated debate. That is only the tip of a larger iceberg. Below this tip is the weightier matter of free exercise of religion. Contention is raging over two main issues: (1) Can marriage survive as the bedrock of our cultural heritage? and (2) Can our precious freedom of religion be preserved?...

If civil law were altered to recognize so-called "same-gender" marriage, you as believers in God, and keepers of His commandments, would then be regarded as exceptions to the rule. Your conscientious convictions would then be regarded as discriminatory. If you were a Christian school teacher, you could be charged with bigotry for upholding the Lord's law of chastity. In truth dear brothers and sisters, if you lose marriage, you also lose freedom of religion. Atheistic moral bedlam and religious repression go hand in hand. At stake is our ability to transmit to the next generation the life-giving and inseparable culture of marriage and the free exercise of religion.

Judge Walker Rules Prop. 8 Unconstitutional

Hey, all -

Sorry to be so quick, but I am slammed at work today - couldn't not come share the news, though! Judge Walker did rule Prop. 8 unconstitutional. The AP reports:

A federal judge overturned California's same-sex marriage ban Wednesday in a landmark case that could eventually land before the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if gays have a constitutional right to marry in America.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker made his ruling in a lawsuit filed by two gay couples who claimed the voter-approved ban violated their civil rights.

Supporters argued the ban was necessary to safeguard the traditional understanding of marriage and to encourage responsible childbearing.

California voters passed the ban as Proposition 8 in November 2008, five months after the state Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.

"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," the judge wrote in a 136-page ruling that laid out in precise detail why the ban does not pass constitutional muster.

Both sides previously said an appeal was certain if Walker did not rule in their favor. The case would go first to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, then the Supreme Court if the high court justices agree to review it.

So, a battle lost, but the war will keep waging. And I hate to paint it in such vicious and angry terms. I don't know that war imagery is right here. It's such a controversial, close-to-the-heart issue for everyone involved.

Honestly, there is a part of me that would be happy to see my gay friends marry happily. It's not a cut-and-dry, win-or-lose, love-or-hate issue. I wish people on both sides of the issue could see that! Even if we'd won today's ruling, I'd feel just sick for my gay friends. So many emotions, so many deeply held beliefs and completely differing views are involved with this. I've seen people argue that it's simply about right and wrong. Well, who's "right" are we advocating? Where it's "right" to treat this case akin to civil rights (a concept with which I disagree wholeheartedly)? Or where it's "right" to stand up for the ideal nuclear family unit? Who is to define right and wrong?

My deeply held belief is that marriage is between a man and a woman, ordained by God. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" in 1995, wherein it put a stake in the ground regarding its stance on what a family is meant to be. This proclamation is the basis for my views, and for what it's worth, I'd like to share it with you all. Come what may, I believe strongly in the family as the pillar of our society, and I hope to strengthen it always, regardless of what courts may decide.
We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God's eternal plan.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. "Children are an heritage of the Lord" (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Prop. 8 Verdict Expected Today

Just a heads-up - Judge Walker is expected to deliver a verdict on the Prop. 8 case this afternoon between 1-3 p.m. PDT. Check out the Wall Street Journal piece here.

Meanwhile... whatever happens, it's still not over, since the case is sure to be appealed. Update coming later...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Rational Conservatism: My New Project

Hey, marriage fans! Just wanted to apprise you all that I'm expanding my blogging horizons from traditional marriage into overall conservative politics and current events as a member of Rational Conservatism, my friend Jeff's politics-focused team blog.

Per the mission statement:

I’ve long advocated a type of conservatism that I’ve not found to be nearly prevalent enough in society. I believe that Humans are both rational and emotional beings. I find no contradiction in this either. Indeed, it is the blending of the two that gives humanity its depth and its capacity for sustainable growth. By growth, I mean economically, personally, societally, spiritually and in other ways that are not coming to mind.

Pure reason is insufficient, and so is pure emotion. To be ruled by either is folly.

Rational Conservatism is to allow oneself to be informed by both, and to do so uncapriciously. The dispassionate consideration of values, reason, emotion and the impact of each before coming to a conclusion is the essence of Rational Conservatism.

This is not intended to become a dry collection of academic writings that no one wants to read. Instead it should serve as a window into not only the conservative mind, but the conservative soul. (Yes, conservatives have souls)

So, if you're interested, please add us to your Google Reader and join in the fun!

Also, we're still recruiting writers, so if this looks up your alley, let me know, and we can look into adding you to the team!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Federal gay marriage ban ruled unconstitutional

This just in from the AP:

Federal gay marriage ban is ruled unconstitutional
BOSTON (AP) - The federal law banning gay marriage is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define the institution and therefore denies married gay couples some federal benefits, a federal judge ruled Thursday in Boston.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro ruled in favor of gay couples' rights in two separate challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, a 1996 law that the Obama administration has argued for repealing. The rulings apply to Massachusetts but could have broader implications if they're upheld on appeal.

The state had argued the law denied benefits such as Medicaid to gay married couples in Massachusetts, where same-sex unions have been legal since 2004.


The Justice Department had argued the federal government had the right to set eligibility requirements for federal benefits—including requiring that those benefits go only to couples in marriages between a man and a woman.

Opponents of gay marriage said they were certain the rulings would be overturned on appeal.


The law was enacted by Congress in 1996 when it appeared Hawaii would soon legalize same-sex marriage and opponents worried that other states would be forced to recognize such marriages. The lawsuit challenges only the portion of the law that prevents the federal government from affording pension and other benefits to same-sex couples.

Since then, five states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage.

Boston College professor Kent Greenfield, a constitutional law expert, said the rulings could have a legal impact outside Massachusetts if they're appealed and a higher court with a broader jurisdiction agrees.

An appeal would be considered by the First Circuit, which also includes Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire.

"One things that's going to be really interesting to watch is whether the Obama administration appeals or not," he said.

Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said the department is reviewing the decision.

Greenfield added the rulings might encourage other attorneys generals who oppose DOMA to sue to try to knock it down.

As you can see, I trimmed the article for length's sake - to read the entire thing, click here.

Honestly, I'm not sure what the implications will be. That's something I need to research, and I'm moving this weekend, so time and Internet connection will both be short. If you have any insight, I'm all ears.

As the article states, "The lawsuit challenges only the portion of the law that prevents the federal government from affording pension and other benefits to same-sex couples." For now, I think that's only in Massachusetts. However, this isn't a finished story. There will be a ripple effect.

One the one hand, I'm thrilled to see the courts honoring states' rights. I think that's vital to our republic functioning the way its Founders intended, with each state exercising the freedom to make rules that work for its residents.

On the other hand, this is a blow to the cause of marriage between a man and a woman. Or is it? Honestly, on the face of it, I support equal rights for couples, gay or straight. However, how do you validate that a couple is enough of a couple to access those benefits intended for a spouse? Plenty of straight couples opt to "shack up" without wedding these days - do they have to file paperwork to prove that they're somehow serious enough to merit those benefits? Something equal to a civil union? Wouldn't that defeat the point?

Again, I'm not clear on all the ramifications of this, and I'm all ears for your insight. Meanwhile, keep watching for more news to come down the pipe regarding this ruling.

As for Prop. 8, there's been no ruling since closing arguments were made last month. According to ProtectMarriage.com, Judge Walker submitted several questions to attorneys on both sides; the pro-Prop. 8 side's answers can be found here. And, of course, we know that no matter what Walker rules, the case will likely be appealed to the 9th Circuit Court, and from there, it'll head to the Supreme Court. Neither side is going to settle for whatever ruling is handed down.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Today's the Day!

Long time, huh, folks?

Well, I apologize for not being more on top of the unfolding of the Prop. 8 case. Meanwhile, today is the day - closing arguments have been made, and I'm eagerly awaiting the verdict. You, too, can follow along with the live-blogging at Prop8Case.com.

As of now, Judge Walker declared marriage as "a deeply rooted fundamental right. And a right that extends to all persons, whether they are capable of producing children, whether they are incarcerated, whether they are behind in their child support. There really is no limitation except a gender limitation."

Hmmm... that's not looking good. In the final exchange between Walker and Prop. 8 defending lawyer Charles Cooper, Walker intimated that sexual orientation is a suspect classification - also not good.

I've only been catching snippets of coverage during the work day - hopefully there'll be more to report shortly. It's so ridiculous, with the anti-8 side giving only emotional arguments, totally lacking in anything based on law. A judge's role is to rule on law, not to declare it or to decide based on his or her opinions. Too bad not many people get that!!!

In the meantime, please keep Cooper and the Prop. 8 team in your prayers!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Quick, feisty thoughts

Bear with me, but there are about a million thoughts running through my mind re: the latest with the Prop. 8 trial, the current attack on religious freedom, and the vitality of the traditional family - but, alas, the last couple weeks have been crazy busy. I'll try to expound on these over the weekend, but for now, here's a rapid-fire, stream-of-consciousness take on what's been in my heart and mind lately re: the marriage fight:

First off, do people not see the massive ramifications that would come with stripping the LDS Church and other religions of their tax-exempt status because they supported Prop. 8? Let's remember that, for one thing, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not donate money. Individual LDS people did - people who are citizens of this amazing country and who have every right to support their beliefs with their wallets and their vote. Punishing an organization for (strongly) urging its members to be politically active in support of their beliefs is downright unAmerican (and, also, let's acknowledge the double standard - it's fine for Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the like to preach politics from the pulpit, so long as it fits the Leftist/Progressive agenda?). Holy crepe, if we move that way, it'll never stop!!! Do we really want to live in a society that promotes thought control by punishing dissenting voices? Where do you draw the line? It is a MASSIVE Pandora's box.

(In my opinion, too many of the issues with which we battle and struggle as a nation today started out as programs by "well-meaning" Progressives that spun out of control in the effect of a Pandora's box - government-funded aid for the poor, banking regulations, etc. If only we could go back to how the country ran 100 years ago... but that's a rant for another day...)

We HAVE to stand up for religious rights. We simply have to. Religion does not breed discrimination and hatred, despite what many a headline proclaimed this morning. Religion provides a tether to a moral foundation that's vital for our country to function. Remember what John Adams said: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” It's the truth. And as we strip religion from the heart and soul of America, we will feel the effect of that vacuum. I don't want to see that happen.

And don't even get me started on the whole separation of church and state issue. Just reread what I penned about it in November 2008. (No, really, reread it. Totally merits it. Of course, I'm biased... but whatever.)

Okay, changing gears... The family is how we, as human beings, first come to figure out the world and our place therein. I've spent a lot of time pondering how crucial this is in the last week or two, and there's a lot I'd like to share - again, hopefully that'll come this weekend. But, for now, let it suffice to say that gender roles are a critical component of that learning. Our fathers shape our definitions of manhood from our earliest moments; our mothers do the same for our understanding of womenhood. Ideally, every baby would be born into a home where both parents take their God-given parental role seriously and provide love and security for that new life. Sadly, that scenario is becoming increasingly rare... but just because it's more the exception than the rule these days doesn't mean that we should lower our expectations and move away from that ideal. Let it be something for which we reach - not something we mock or tear down because it makes us feel better about our own failings.

Which could put me on another tangent about how our society is seriously lacking in work ethic and the understanding of how wonderful and soul-stretching hard work is... but, again, that's a thought for another day.

In closing, if you want some great day-by-day Prop. 8 coverage, check out what the great thinkers at The Opine Editorials are blogging. Great job, friends. Keep fighting the good fight, all, and please, please, please, pray that Prop. 8 will stick. I really think this issue will divide our country in ways we haven't yet seen... but I know that God's hand is still in this great nation of ours, so long as there are good men and women willing to stand up for truth and righteousness. I'm honored to have you standing beside me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sup Ct Rules Against Prop. 8 Trial Broadcast

Good news, Prop. 8 proponents! The Supreme Court ruled today that the Prop. 8 trial will not be broadcast. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday afternoon ruled 5-4 that San Francisco federal judge Vaughn Walker, currently presiding over the Prop. 8 trial concerning same-sex marriage, erred in ruling that a video feed of the trial could be broadcast in a handful of other federal courts. In other words, the trial will not be televised. Click here for the per curiam decision.

The 5-4 vote was straight down those oh-so-familiar lines. The “conservatives,” Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito and Roberts, signed onto the opinion. Justice Breyer wrote a dissent, joined by Justices Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg and Sotomayor.

The signers to the per curiam decision ruled that Judge Walker failed to follow proper procedures in amending a local rule stating that proceedings should not be broadcast beyond “the courtroom or its environs.” ...

The dissenters saw it differently, however, finding that “Certainly the parties themselves had more than adequate notice and opportunity to comment before the Rule was changed.”
For more details, check out the WSJ coverage on their law blog. Sorry this is a quickie, but it's been quite the long day. More analysis/commentary on the week's proceedings to come over the weekend. Until then, keep fighting the good fight (and praying for the upholding of Prop. 8), my friends!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Perry v. Schwarzenegger: Day One Recap

Yesterday marked the first day of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the lawsuit in which a lesbian couple is suing the state of California over their inability to marry after Prop. 8's passage.

The case is anticipated to be the watershed decision that will more or less set the precedent for gay marriage - it will likely hit the Supreme Court eventually, meaning its decision will have nationwide ramifications. If you want background on it, hop over to protectmarriage.com - they've got a bunch of valuable information, and they'll be updating their site more frequently and in depth than I'll be able to here (I'll do what I can, though). You can also follow them on Twitter at @protectmarriage.

Yesterday began with a victory for the Yes on 8 side: the United States Supreme Court stayed the order of Judge Vaughn Walker that would have allowed for streaming video of the courtroom proceedings. The stay is in effect until tomorrow (Wednesday) at 4 p.m. Eastern / 1 p.m. Pacific, at which time a decision on whether or not to broadcast the trial via YouTube is expected.

Although I'm all for transparency, after seeing the retaliation that hit so many Yes on 8 supporters during and after the campaign, I think televising the proceedings is a horrible idea. Justice won't be blind; people won't be able to be completely honest for fear of what will follow their truthful testimony. I understand how the No on 8 side wants their emotional appeal to pull weight... but, again, justice is supposed to be blind. After all, didn't Aristotle say "The law is reason, free from passion"? The court's role is not to made emotionally based decisions. They are to look at a scenario and decide how it fits into the laws of the land, whether or not it is permissible according to the framework of the Constitution. Granted, with judicial review, court cases have come to supplant the laws of the land via precedents... but that's a post for another day. (Er, rather, one I already wrote...)

Suffice it to say, I really, really can't stand activist judges. I don't care what you think is best - I care that you use your experience in interpreting the Constitution. Ugh. When I was a journalist, believe you me, I had opinions aplenty about the goings-on of the communities I covered, but I had the self-restraint to leave my ideas out and simply report on what the decision-makers had to say because I knew people didn't care what I had to say. It wasn't my job! If only judges (and the mainstream media) could exercise such restraint...

*Stepping off soapbox*

Okay, so, back to Perry v. Schwarzenegger. The Wall Street Journal's law blog had an excellent post recapping the day's events. The trial kicked off with three testimonies from the No on 8 camp - two lesbian women and a gay man - that reflected their legal team's strategy: place the case on par with the civil rights struggles of the 1960s. Their lawyer Ted Olson called marriage a "basic civil right" that Prop. 8 sought to take away.

(No matter that gay marriage was only legal in California because the courts improperly overturned the people's vote from Prop. 22... just sayin'...)

Then the Yes on 8 side got its turn, with the legal team arguing that marriage rights for same-sex couples undermines the "pro-child institution" aspect of marriage, redefining marriage's very nature to be a private relationship between two adults that's based on love. This chips away at the parent-child bond and will likely lead to an upswing in divorce rates.

Not surprisingly, most of the media coverage focuses on the No on 8 side. If you want to hear more on the strategy and perspective of the Yes on 8 legal team, General Counsel Andy Pugno is blogging - click here to read his post from Day One.

This is going to be an interesting ride, my friends. Let's just hope and pray that right will prevail - and even if it doesn't, well, let us at least leave a record of where we stood. I don't care if the Sean Penns of the world think we're on the wrong side of history. It's not their opinion that matters. The family is a critical institution established by God. It's the bedrock of every society - not to mention of the eternities. We must defend it with all we've got, because if it crumbles, so too will our society.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Judges uphold privacy of Prop. 8 proponents' communiques

* Cool pic, huh? Can't take credit - I snagged it here.

Hey there, readers!

Been a while, hasn't it? Sorry about that - almost immediately following my last post, I lost my job, got walking pneumonia, moved out of state and started a new job and a new life (oh, and I did a production of The Sound of Music in there, too, as Sister Sophia). It's been a little nutty, to say the least, but now that the dust is settling, I'm hoping to get back into the swing of blogging here, even if it's just once or twice a month, to keep you apprised of the latest Prop. 8 / traditional marriage news.

And what better way to return than to share some great news! The Los Angeles Times reports:
Gay marriage supporters challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8 lost their bid Friday to see the internal communications of those who supported the initiative when an appeals court ruled that disclosure would violate the 1st Amendment.

Lawyers for two couples denied licenses to marry because they are of the same sex had sought access to e-mails and letters among Proposition 8 backers, hoping to show that the campaign aimed to stir "discriminatory animus" toward gays and lesbians.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco had ordered the initiative backers to make available those documents that reflected the internal thinking of campaign organizers and key contributors.

The Yes-on-8 side, led by the Protect Marriage group, objected to disclosure and turned to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals with their arguments that the request was irrelevant and unduly burdensome and that the communications are protected by the 1st Amendment...

"We reverse," the three 9th Circuit judges, all appointees of President Clinton, said in an expedited ruling released Friday afternoon. "The freedom to associate with others for the common advancement of political beliefs and ideas lies at the heart of the 1st Amendment."

Disclosing the inner workings of the Proposition 8 campaign "would have the practical effect of discouraging the exercise of 1st Amendment associational rights," the judges said, adding that the initiative's foes had failed to show that their need to review the
communications outweighed the defendants' rights and interests.

Andy Pugno, general counsel for Protect Marriage, said Proposition 8 backers were
"very pleased" with the appellate ruling.
Well, I agree with Andy Pugno - I, too, am very pleased with this ruling. The First Amendment is CRITICAL to preserving our nation's amazing freedoms. Whether or not you agree with people's politics, there are some things that should be sacred cows, and freedom of expression is paramount to that.

As I've always said - "I may disagree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it."

Trust me, it's something I came across aplenty as a journalist in Orange County's most liberal community. What I thought of the issues and decisions made in the town wasn't important - what mattered was that I provided a platform for both sides to make their opinions and views known. If only that courtesy would go both ways...

It's good to be back. :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Harvey Milk Day Passes Assembly - Call Gov to Veto!

From BeetleBlogger:

Today SB 572 passed the Assembly and now goes to the State Senate for a quick concurrence vote, then to Governor Schwarzenegger for his signature or veto. He vetoed Harvey Milk Day last year, but it’s unknown what he’ll do this year.

SB 572 will declare every May 22 Harvey Milk Day in California. Milk was a San Francisco county supervisor and homosexual activists. According to SB 572, school children will learn about and honor Milk at school every May 22. There is hope that Governor Schwarzenegger could veto this bill again this year.

It is crucial that you contact Governor Schwarzenegger and urge him to veto SB 572!

Governor Schwarzenegger (916) 445-2841

Read SB 572

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ben & Jerry's Get Political with "Hubby Hubby"

Hey, folks!

Well, it looks like our favorite Vermont ice cream makers couldn't resist getting involved in the political fray.

In honor of Vermont couples being allowed to wed as of yesterday, Ben & Jerry's redubbed its popular flavor Chubby Hubby to - you guessed it - Hubby Hubby.

From their Web site:

In partnership with Freedom to Marry we are gathered here to celebrate Vermont and all the other great states where loving couples of all kinds are free to marry legally. We have ceremoniously dubbed our iconic flavor, Chubby Hubby to Hubby Hubby in support, and to raise awareness of the importance of marriage equality. Check out our press release.

If you live in Vermont, or visiting, you’re invited to celebrate the pride-filled occasion with an all naturally fabulous union of Peanut Butter Cookie Dough ice cream, fudge
and pretzels. Enjoy our Hubby Hubby Sundae for the month of September in participating Vermont Scoop Shops!
Thanks, but I'll pass. As much as I love me some Ben & Jerry's, I think my Cherry Garcia-eating days are done. I'm not a big boycotter by nature, but at the same time, I get squeamish at the thought of supporting businesses that throw their weight and their money behind causes diametrically opposed to my beliefs. Granted, I guess I cherrypick a little - after all, I still have my Disneyland pass, and they're hugely pro-gay rights - but still. Ben & Jerry's is one brand I can live without.

P.S.: If you want to make your voice heard, you can drop Ben and Jerry a line at http://www.benjerry.com/contact-us/.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Harvey Milk Day is still in debate

Evidently, the Harvey Milk Day debate is not over. If you want background on the bill that sets gay activist/politician Harvey Milk on par with Washington, Lincoln and Dr. King with a spotlighted Gay Day in our schools, check out BeetleBabee's writeup here.

If you would like to block this legislation, please take time to make a phone call. It took me two tries to connect and then it took only about 30 seconds to complete. Call Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at 916-445-2841. Listen to the recorded message and push enter in the following order:
  • 1 (English)

  • 2 (legislation)

  • 1 (SB572)

  • 2 (against)
We're fighting against a case of a silent majority here. According to SaveCalifornia.com, a recent poll found only 1 out of 5 Californians want a statewide “day of significance” honoring Harvey Milk.

If those 4 out of 5 who don't want it keep quiet, then a gay day will become a part of the standardized curriculum in our great state. Let's not let apathy win here!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Medved: "Gay Marriage Activists Won't Give Up, Insist Men and Women are the Same"

Back in my college days six years ago (wow, has it been that long?!), I had the wonderful opportunity during an internship in Seattle to get to know Dr. Diane Medved, a brilliant, insightful woman for whom I have the utmost respect. If you haven't read her blog Searching for Bright Light, I highly recommend you check it out. Several of her posts have dealt with the politics and physiology behind the same-sex marriage debate, including her excellent latest post, in which she tackles many points we've discussed here (and much more eloquently, too!) With her permission, I'm happy to share it with you:

Gay Marriage Activists Won't Give Up, Insist Men and Women are the Same

I've been working on my project about marriage as the combining of male and female, and so, while enjoying some of the most perfect weather we've ever had here in Seattle, lying on a chaise my balcony and catching up on the paper, my attention went to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal of Monday, July 20: "Gay Marriage and the Constitution" by David Boies.

Boies explained why he and Ted Olson are suing the state of California to overturn Proposition 8, already confirmed by the state Supreme Court, that defines marriage in that state's constitution as one man and one woman.

Of course he takes the tack most gay marriage advocates do, trying to equate race and gender, saying it's just as wrong to deny two men marriage as it was to deny a white and a black; i.e. if people and courts now agree that all races should be interchangeable when it comes to marriage, so the two sexes should be, too.

And he pulls out that false but ubiquitous meme that it's just about freedom to marry the one you love: "The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the right to marry the person you love is so fundamental that states cannot abridge it." He supports this by citing rulings that allow "child-support scofflaws" and imprisoned felons to marry.

...But only marry one of the opposite sex. Not to marry one of the same sex. In these cases, the Supreme Court didn't re-define marriage; it just said that breaking the law isn't in itself reason to stop a conventional marriage. The punishments for the offender's crimes are unaffected; the institution of marriage remains unchanged.

Nowhere is there a "right to marry the person you love." What if you want to marry your sibling? Your parent? What if you want to marry somebody who's already legally wed to someone else? What if the person you love happens to be six years old? Or has advanced Alzheimer's and can't consent? Or wants to join you and your present spouses in polygamy? Would the court uphold your right to marry one of these people, even if you swear your love is undying and pure?

Boies dismisses so called reasons to deny gay marriage. Heteros feeling threatened by gays is unable to "withstand discussion." He thinks it's "hard to envision" straights avoiding marrying or divorcing just because gays can. He rejects that forcing gays into straight marriages would help societal stability. Or that keeping gays from marrying each other will steer them straight. Who ever argued any of this?? Only Boies, so he can shoot down these dumb straw men.

Boies then says Californians' votes should be nullified because of that tired question, "how does it hurt YOUR marriage if two gays get married?"

Aside from legally widening the marital sexual "norm" from coitus to include homosexual sodomy (with big ramifications in terms of public school education), suddenly our language and understanding get stripped of any means to describe the unique combining of male and female. And that's dandy, because gay advocates' agenda is to insist that a man and woman--or biological mother and father--together form exactly the same "marriage" as two men or two women together do. Denying biology. Denying reams of scientific literature demonstrating the superiority of married natural parents raising their children over all other permutations of parenthood.

Boies doesn't address the fact that men and women are not interchangeable--and in fact are opposites--and that marriage exists to reconcile and mesh them. There's no way to deny fundamental gender differences; the difference is--unlike race--identifiable in every cell of the body.

Instead, he insists that "sexual orientation of gays and lesbians is as much a God-given characteristic as the color of their skin or the sexual orientation of their straight brothers and sisters." There's no biological evidence of that. There are, however, many people who say they have chosen one orientation and then later, chosen another. Perhaps they are bisexual--I envision sexual proclivity as a long continuum. And while I do think there are gays who are as repulsed by the opposite sex as most straights are unattracted to their own, these people can freely live according to their orientation, and, in California, form civil unions that by law (California Family Code, Section 297-297.5) receive exactly the same rights, privileges and obligations as heterosexual marriages do.

Boies notes that California law gives domestic partners all the rights of marriage. But instead of concluding that the purpose of the two categories is to elevate and encourage California's biological families, he insists it's "to stigmatize a segment of its population that commits no offense, other than falling in love with a disapproved partner, and asks no more of the state than to be treated equally with all other citizens."

Excuse me...gays are treated exactly the same: they too can marry one of the opposite sex. Or civilly join with one of the same sex. The only difference is...maintaining distinctions. Men and men together are different from men and women together, not only in the capability to procreate, but in their "God-given characteristics" as detailed in innumerable physiological, psychological, brain and hormonal studies. Men and women marry. Men and men, or women and women may domestically partner. It's not "separate but equal;" it's separate because the two are not equal.

Boies concludes that "Gays and lesbians are our brothers and sisters, our teachers and doctors..." who are due "the basic human right to marry the person they love" (as long as that person is an adult, not a close relative, not already married, not seeking to be a second or third spouse, mentally competent and willing...). He says it is overdue that "the Constitution fulfill its promise of equal protection and due process for all citizens by now eliminating the last remnant of centuries [no, millenniums!] of misguided state discrimination against gays and lesbians."

He is not willing to argue about discrimination against polygamists or incest-philes. But he's right about one thing--this issue is about discrimination, in the positive sense--the notion of being discriminating, cognizant of distinctions. If scientifically advanced people cannot even admit obvious differences between males and females, and instead deem them interchangeable in marriage, then our society is in a sorry state, indeed.

(OK, I know I've written about this before, and I, too, am becoming weary of being forced to repeat the same arguments. But then another of these articles gets huge coverage and I just have to answer...again.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

What is America to me?

Sorry I couldn't find a more visually interesting clip of this great song, but at least give it a listen - the words are fabulous and so well express how I feel about this land of ours. It's one of my favorite songs of all times.

What is America to me?

Boy, that's a question to which you'll get as many varied responses as the number of people you ask it to, but I think that these days, the American ideal is more fractured than ever.

When I was in college, one project that all American Studies majors had to do was the American Dream project - to ask five people what the American Dream meant to them, and then to take their responses and extrapolate an essay about what the American ideal meant to them. My five interviewees were my father, my grandmother, the American Heritage professor for whom I TA'ed (Brett Latimer) and two of my peers, my good friend Laura and my colleague Mark, a Marine veteran. Granted, all five and myself share some common foundations in terms of religion and politics, so the answers I got weren't as vastly varied as they'd be if you asked any five random people on the street, but I think that at the root of it, America means an opportunity to make your dreams come true and to pursue happiness.

Sadly, that opportunity is being diminished by those who would rather see equality of results enforced, making everyone's share of the pie equal with no effort expended - a recipe for disaster that will burden the backs of the hard workers with the labor of carrying the lazy. That is not America to me, and it's not the America our Founding Fathers set out to build.

Friends, I worry for this great nation of ours. I really, really do. I find that for the most part, my generation doesn't know its history. People don't understand the principles upon which America was founded. They don't study the primary sources, the words of the Founders themselves or the books from which the Founders got their ideas. They don't even go to the secondary sources that examine those ideals and quote from them directly. No, most people rely on what they read in high school or college general ed textbooks, information that is often a tertiary source at best. These great, ennobling ideas are watered down to summaries and synopses that lose so much of the heart and soul of this nation in translation. So many nowadays focus only on the rights of citizenship - not the responsibilities that accompany it like honesty, self-sufficiency, integrity and devotion to family.

It frustrates me so much to see our nation headed toward a trainwreck while so many people kick back and focus only on seeking entertainment and luxury. That's precisely the European attitude from which our Founders sought to break away in order to preserve the American character of a people who were "industrious, frugal, and honest," as Thomas Paine said in his great treatise Common Sense. In our land was a spirit of equality and public virtue because "the people of America are a people of property; almost every man is a freeholder," he wrote. Being part of the land somehow made people grounded, working hard for their sustenance. Today we're so far removed from that (myself included - I mean, I'm from L.A. Food comes from the grocery store, not the ground!). However, I think the Spirit of America can prevail even in our modern age.

But what will it take to survive and thrive in these trying times? It will take men and women like you and me, devoted in a return to the heart and soul of this nation, to put a stake in the ground and to make an effort to educate those around us as to what this country is really about, to study and to grow, to pick up the phone and be an engaged citizenry, willing to call our representatives and tell them if we disagree with a particular policy - not to sit around whining about what a terrible idea it is or, worse yet, to sit around ignorant of what's going on in Washington. Our nation is on a rapid track to change with a president at its helm who fundamentally believes in equality of results, not of opportunity, and whose platforms run diametrically opposed to what our Founders set up America to be.

After all, it isn't like the Founders were ignorant of how some things sounded great on paper - but didn't work in reality. As Samuel Adams wrote,

The Utopian schemes of leveling (redistribution of wealth) and a community of goods (gov't ownership of commerce) are as visionary and impratical as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideals] are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government, unconstitutional.

Or we can turn to Jefferson, who wrote:

If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.

Furthermore, Jefferson warned:
We shall all consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts, and morally bound to pay them ourselves; and consequently within what may be deemed the period of a generation, or the life of the majority.

Please, friends, do what you can within your sphere to make a difference. Preserve this great nation of ours. Don't let it fail in the face of ignorance, laziness and self-centered pleasure-seeking. Follow yet another admonition of Jefferson's:

If a nation expects to ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.

No other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom and happiness... Preach... a crusade against ignorance; establish and improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils [of misgovernment].

If we don't stand up for the ideals of freedom and prosperity, we'll be enslaved by our very own government through taxation and limited liberty. That is not America to me.

As an extension of that project I did in college seven years ago, I'd like to ask all of you:

What is America to you? How would you define your version of the American Dream?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

CA's SB 54 seeks to undermine Prop. 8 win

As if the Legislature doesn’t have enough issues to deal with given the chronic $26 billion state budget deficit, some legislators are advancing a new bill in Sacramento designed to rip a huge hole in Proposition 8 and further undercut traditional marriage in California.

We need your help immediately to contact legislators and the Governor to oppose Senate Bill 54, which seeks to undermine Proposition 8, and further attempts to sneak this change by the people of California through a legislative maneuver known as the “gut and amend.”

Last week, Senator Mark Leno stripped out the contents of SB 54 – dealing with health care coverage -- and inserted language that would legalize gay marriages performed in other states and nations prior to the passage of Proposition 8. This proposal is in direct conflict with California’s constitution – as amended by the passage of Proposition 8 – that provides only marriage between a man and a woman will be valid or recognized in California. Further, it goes well beyond the California Supreme Court’s decision that allowed to remain valid a limited number of same-sex marriages performed in California last summer before Proposition 8 passed.

It is simply wrong and undemocratic for liberal gay activists like Senator Mark Leno to attempt to circumvent the decision of voters and rewrite our constitution behind our backs with this sneaky “gut and amend” maneuver. That’s why we’re asking you to take action TODAY and urge the legislature, and if it gets to him, the Governor, to oppose this effort to undermine Proposition 8.

Please become an active supporter by opposing SB 54.

Senator Leno’s SB 54 is such a direct assault, and your action will make a difference.
SB 54 will be heard THURSDAY in the Assembly Judiciary Committee. While the odds of stopping the bill here are low, we think that applying pressure now will drive up more no votes on this bill, which helps increase the odds of the Governor vetoing the bill. If the bill makes it to his desk, we are ultimately looking at an effort designed to encourage Governor Schwarzenegger to veto this legislation.

But for now, the fight is in the State Assembly!

Write your state Assembly representative expressing your opposition to SB 54. Ask him or her to vote against SB 54 if it makes it to the Assembly floor.

In particular, if any of the following members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee represent your home area, please call or email them immediately to urge them to oppose SB 54. Your immediate action will send a clear message that Californians are watching and will not sit idly by while liberal legislators attempt to rip a huge hole in Proposition 8.

Assembly Member Mike Feuer (D – West LA, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood)
(310) 285-5490

Assembly Member Van Tran (R – Costa Mesa, Garden Grove)
(714) 668-2100

Assembly Member Julia Brownley (D - Calabasas, Oxnard)
818) 596-4141

Assembly Member Noreen Evans (D – Santa Rose, Napa)
707) 546-4500

Assembly Member Dave Jones (D – Sacramento)
(916) 324-4676

Assembly Member Steve Knight (R – Palmdale, Victorville)
(661) 267-7636

Assembly Member Paul Krekorian (D – Burbank)
(818) 558-3043

Assembly Member Ted Lieu (D – El Segundo)
(310) 615-3515

Assembly Member William Monning (D – Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel)
(831) 425-1503

Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R – Redding, Yuba City)
(530) 223-6300

Info courtesy ProtectMarriage.com

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mass. sues federal gov't over marriage definition

I knew that the marriage debate would hit a federal level soon enough, but this isn't how I expected it to come up. According to the Associated Press, it appears that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has sued the federal government today, arguing that the Defense of Marriage Act interferes with the state's ability to define and regulate marriage as it sees fit.

More from the AP story:

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Boston, argues the act "constitutes an overreaching and discriminatory federal law." It says the approximately 16,000 same-sex couples who have married in Massachusetts since the state began performing gay marriages in 2004 are being unfairly denied federal benefits given to heterosexual couples.

Besides Massachusetts, five other states — Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Iowa — have legalized gay marriage. Gay marriage opponents in Maine said Wednesday that they had collected enough signatures to put the state's new law on the November ballot for a possible override.

The Massachusetts lawsuit challenges the section of the federal law that creates a federal definition of marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife."

Before the law was passed, Coakley said, the federal government recognized that defining marital status was the "exclusive prerogative of the states." Now, because of the U.S. law's definition of marriage, same-sex couples are denied access to benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including federal income tax credits, employment benefits, retirement benefits, health insurance coverage and Social Security payments, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit also argues that the federal law requires the state to violate the constitutional rights of its citizens by treating married heterosexual couples and married same-sex couples differently when determining eligibility for Medicaid benefits and when determining whether the spouse of a veteran can be buried in a Massachusetts veterans' cemetery.

As the article notes, Pres. Obama has said he plans to repeal DOMA. Going through the legal system is a different way to approach the issue - one that, as precedent holds, seems to be comfortable and familiar for the same-sex marriage camp. Not one state that's approved same-sex marriage has done so by the voice of the people; rather, it's been legislated from the bench or voted on by lawmakers (in spite of their constituents' views in some cases).

So, this case should be interesting to watch. What's the precedent for states suing the federal gov't? As far as I remember from college, it seems like in most state-federal cases, the court rulings tend to favor a stronger national government and diminish states' abilities to make decisions for themselves.

Personally, I love the federalism concept as established by the Founders, with states making the decisions their constituents need while the national government sticks with issues states can't, such as national defense. Alas, that view seems to be more and more the minority view. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Great News!

From the LA Times -

Prop. 8 upheld by California Supreme Court

By Maura Dolan
10:08 AM PDT, May 26, 2009

Reporting from San Francisco -- The California Supreme Court today upheld Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage but also ruled that gay couples who wed before the election will continue to be married under state law.

The decision virtually ensures another fight at the ballot box over marriage rights for gays. Gay rights activists say they may ask voters to repeal the marriage ban as early as next year, and opponents have pledged to fight any such effort. Proposition 8 passed with 52% of the vote.

Although the court split 6-1 on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the justices were unanimous in deciding to keep intact the marriages of as many as 18,000 gay couples who exchanged vows before the election. The marriages began last June, after a 4-3 state high court ruling striking down the marriage ban last May.

In an opinion written by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, the state high court ruled today that the November initiative was not an illegal constitutional revision, as gay rights lawyers contended, nor unconstitutional because it took away an inalienable right, as Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown argued.

Only Justice Carlos R. Moreno, the court's sole Democrat, wanted Proposition 8 struck down as an illegal constitutional revision.

Justice Joyce L. Kennard, who voted with the majority last year to give gays marriage rights, joined George and the court's four other justices in voting to uphold Proposition 8.

The case for overturning the initiative was widely viewed as a long shot. Gay rights lawyers had no solid legal precedent on their side, and some of the court's earlier holdings on constitutional revisions mildly undercut their arguments.

But gay marriage advocates captured a wide array of support in the case, with civil rights groups, legal scholars and even some churches urging the court to overturn the measure. Supporters of the measure included many churches and religious organizations.

The legal fight over same-sex marriage in California began in San Francisco in 2004, when Mayor Gavin Newsom spurned state law, and the city began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Long lines of couples showed up to marry and celebrated within view of the court with rice and champagne.

Those marriages sparked a national debate about gay rights and made the marriage question a political issue in an election year. Dozens of states later adopted constitutional amendments to bar same-sex marriage.

Those gay couples who wed in San Francisco later had their marriages rescinded by the California Supreme Court, which ruled that a city could not single-handedly flout state law. But the court said supporters of marriage rights could challenge the ban in the lower courts.

The legal fight moved to San Francisco Superior Court, where a judge struck down the marriage ban as unconstitutional. A Court of Appeal in San Francisco later overturned that decision on a 2-1 vote. The state high court eventually took up the case, which culminated in a May 15 ruling last year declaring gays could marry each other.

Before last fall, California was one of only two states -- the other was Massachusetts -- to permit same-sex marriage.

Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont and Maine have since legalized it, and lawmakers in New York, New Jersey and New Hampshire are considering bills of their own.

California's historic 2008 ruling, written by George, repeatedly invoked the words "respect and dignity" and framed the marriage question as one that deeply affected not just couples but also their children. California has more than 100,000 households headed by gay couples, about a quarter with children, according to 2000 census data.

As soon as the ruling was final, thousands of gay couples showed up at city halls around the state to marry, and many flew in from elsewhere for California weddings. While the wedding business was brisk, opponents mounted a heated campaign with the help of churches and conservatives to overturn the court's action.

Even with the court upholding Proposition 8, a key portion of the court's May 15, 2008, decision remains intact. Sexual orientation will continue to receive the strongest constitutional protection possible when California courts consider cases of alleged discrimination. The California Supreme Court is the only state high court in the nation to have elevated sexual orientation to the status of race and gender in weighing discrimination claims.


I am so happy that our hard work was not in vain! The fight is far from over, but I'll savor this sweet victory for now. I would hope that it will set a precedent that will help our next battles and the battles going on in different states. ~Hizzeather

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sorry for the silence

Hi, readers dear -

Just a quick note to say that I'm sorry things have been quiet around here lately. There are more and more marriage battles to be fought, but a girl's gotta pay the bills, so the main battle I'm focusing on right now is keeping my job in a shrinking economy.

Thankfully there are many talented bloggers listed in our blogroll who are carrying the marriage torch splendidly - and several of them are also listed on Facebook, which is a great way to keep up with the latest breaking news. I strongly encourage you to add them to your RSS readers if you haven't already.

As for the future of PreservingMarriage - I'll do what I can, but it's going to be sporadic at best for the time being. Know that my heart and my prayers are in the fight, though, even if my time can't be devoted to it like it was before. Thanks for fighting alongside us, and let's keep forging ahead!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Voice of the Nation to discuss Iowa and Vermont at 2 p.m. today

Hey there, marriage fans!

It's been a disappointing week in the fight for traditional marriage as Iowa and Vermont both adopted gender-neutered marriage verbiage. The change in Vermont was the first of its kind, settling the debate through the legislature - and by ONE VOTE at that (see Beetle Blogger's great post recapping that unfortunate outcome).

I'll be getting into the power of one in a later post, but for now, be sure to tune into "Voice of the Nation" today at 2 p.m. Pacific via Blog Talk Radio.

Today's "Voice Of The Nation" will be discussing the recent same-sex marriage changes that have happened in Iowa and Vermont this week as the number of states allowing same-sex marriages actually doubled in a matter of days! Four states now allow same-sex marriages, is the tide of public support turning against family? or is the system being usurped? What’s the next step?

Guest Craig Bensen will be joining us to talk about what happened in Vermont as the votes actually went down this week. We lost the veto on Tuesday by one vote. It was a close fight!. Hear the inside scoop from the grass roots of Vermont this Thursday!

Craig Bensen is the President of Take It To The People, a Vermont Citizen Coalition for Traditional Marriage. His group has been working on this issue in Vermont since 1997. Dr. Bensen is a local church pastor, businessman and political activist.

Open Chat and Call lines: We’ll be taking your questions via online chat during the show and if you want to ask your own questions, feel free to call in! 347- 215-6801.

The show's been bumped up to a full hour now; archives are available through http://blogtalkfamilyvalues.wordpress.com/.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Iowa next for same-sex marriage?

Looks like the Hawkeye State is next in line to tackle the same-sex marriage question tomorrow. If the ruling favors gay marriage, then Iowa would join Massachussetts and Connecticut as states where same-sex couples can wed.The Des Moines Register reports:

An Iowa Supreme Court ruling that could change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples is likely to be issued Friday morning.

The case, Varnum vs. Brien, involves six same-sex Iowa couples who sued Polk County Recorder Timothy Brien in 2005 after his office denied them marriage licenses. Polk County District Judge Robert Hanson sided with the couples last year but then suspended his decision pending a high court ruling.

The case could have consequences outside the state’s borders. Iowa could become the first Midwestern state, and the fourth in the nation, to allow same-sex marriage if the court sides with the gay couples.

A ruling that favors the county would reinforce Iowa’s decade-old marriage law, which social conservatives say is critical to preserving traditional families. Legal experts say such a decision would echo across the country and strengthen the gay rights movement.

But the justices could also throw the issue to the Legisature, which is already embroiled in high-profile fiscal issues as the clock ticks toward adjournment. Or the high court could decide that the Polk County lawsuit should proceed to trial. The decision could include further delays, or produce a results that neither side will be completely happy with.

Openly gay state Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines, said he doubts lawmakers would take action on gay marriage “in the final, waning days of the session, because there’s so many other issues involving the budget and taxes.”

“But that would be a decision for the leaders to make,” he said.

If you want more details, I recommend a thorough read of the Register's piece - it gives a great scope and context to how the same-sex marriage debate has been handled in Iowa. They're a little off in how they report California's history with the issue - I wouldn't say that California allowed it until voters banned gay marriage so much as that Californians reinstated the law they passed that was overturned by a 4-3 court decision - but, hey, that's just me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Voice of the Nation on now!

Hi, all -

Sorry for the delayed post - I meant to get this up earlier. Voice of the Nation's time changed to noon today this week - which is, um, like, NOW. If you want to tune in, click here. To call in, the number is 347- 215-6801.

Today's Voice of the Nation will discuss same-sex marriage initiatives that are taking root across the country, most notably in Vermont as the state Senate and House are voting on same-sex marriage legislation this week. Will the Governor Veto the legislation? Does he have the votes to hold?

Also, William Duncan, Director of the Marriage Law Foundation, will be a guest on the show this week to talk about the dangers of legalizing same sex marriage.

William C. Duncan is director of the Marriage Law Foundation. He formerly served as acting director of the Marriage Law Project at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law and as executive director of the Marriage and Family Law Research Grant at J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, where he also served as a visiting professor. He has published numerous articles on constitutional and family law issues in a variety of legal journals.

Monday, March 23, 2009

VT senators approve gay marriage 26-4

Update on the Vermont same-sex marriage vote from Beetle Blogger: state senators approved S. 115, which replaces civil unions and traditional marriage with gender-neutral marriages across the board, by a 26-4 vote this afternoon.

What's next: the bill goes now to a House committee for approval before heading to the full House for a vote later this week. Although Gov. Jim Douglas has said he's against same-sex marriage, he hasn't indicated whether he'll sign or veto the bill, according to 365gay.com.

What this means: If Vermont lawmakers approve same-sex marriage, the state will be the first in the country to legalize gay nuptials through legislative means and not through litigation in court.

As a rule of thumb, I always worry when legislators take power into their own hands that is not granted to them in the state or nation's founding documents. I can appreciate the state-to-state distinctions of federalism, but if in California the pro-gay marriage contingent argued (unsuccessfully, but still) that reverting from same-sex marriage to traditional marriage was such a radical, drastic change that it should have been handled with a referendum, not an amendment.

(Honestly, I never bought that logic, because then wouldn't the courts have been overstepping their bounds by shooting down Prop. 22? Anyways...)

The people of Vermont should have in what their legislators do. After all, it's the people's vote that put them in this position of power in the first place. Are you a Vermonter? Do you agree or disagree with what your representatives are doing?

Make your voice heard, Vermont!

You can track down your local representatives via The State of Vermont Legislature online. Go here to look up your local representative or state senator.

If you want to hear what's going on, tune into the proceedings online via Vermont Public Radio.