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)
Assemblymember.feuer@assembly.ca.gov
(310) 285-5490

Assembly Member Van Tran (R – Costa Mesa, Garden Grove)
Trish.zanella@asm.ca.gov
(714) 668-2100

Assembly Member Julia Brownley (D - Calabasas, Oxnard)
Assemblymember.Brownley@assembly.ca.gov
818) 596-4141

Assembly Member Noreen Evans (D – Santa Rose, Napa)
Assemblymember.evans@assembly.ca.gov
707) 546-4500

Assembly Member Dave Jones (D – Sacramento)
Assemblymember.jones@assembly.ca.gov
(916) 324-4676

Assembly Member Steve Knight (R – Palmdale, Victorville)
Assemblymember.knight@asm.ca.gov
(661) 267-7636

Assembly Member Paul Krekorian (D – Burbank)
Assemblymember.krekorian@assembly.ca.gov
(818) 558-3043

Assembly Member Ted Lieu (D – El Segundo)
Assemblymember.lieu@assembly.ca.gov
(310) 615-3515

Assembly Member William Monning (D – Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel)
Assemblymember.monning@assembly.ca.gov
(831) 425-1503

Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R – Redding, Yuba City)
Assemblymember.nielsen@assembly.ca.gov
(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.

maura.dolan@latimes.com

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.

Vermont marriage vote to come TODAY

Hi, folks!

Today the Vermont State Legislature will vote on S. 115: An Act Relating to Civil Marriage, a measure that would change Vermont's same-sex unions from civil unions to marriage while making all marriages in the state gender neutral. The bill will be voted upon sometime after 3 P.M.

Unlike most states that have put the issue of gay marriage to a public vote, Vermont lawmakers are circumventing the vox populi and defining marriage themselves without the input of their constituents.

However, Senator Kevin Mullin will likely offer an amendment to the bill that would require a public referendum. If you're a Vermonter, your Senator(s) need to know that you support the referendum and that you expect them to support it.

Please CALL your Senator(s) about this (emails are not as effective). Briefly and politely ask them to support this amendment -- whether they are for or against Same-Sex Marriage. It's only fair that the issue be put before the voters. After all, they do "trust their constituents" to do the right thing, right...?

Senators who could use a little extra "encouragement" to support this include:

Mazza from Chittenden/Grand Isle: (802) 863-1067

Choate and Kitchel from Caledonia: (802) 748-2629 (Choate) & (802) 684-3482 (Kitchel)

Scott from Washington: (802) 223-5135

The contact info for all 30 Senators is included below. A call to the Statehouse at 1-800-322-5616 allows you to leave a message for them during business hours.

Senator(s) Contact: Remember to Call—It’s more effective

The Vermont Legislature
Legislative Directory
Senators by County
2009 - 2010 Legislative Session

ADDISON DISTRICT (2)
(D) Ayer, Claire D. (802) 545-2142
(D) Giard, Harold (802) 758-2577

BENNINGTON DISTRICT (2)
(D) Hartwell, Robert M (802) 362-5757
(D) Sears, Richard W (802) 442-9139

CALEDONIA DISTRICT (2)
(D) Choate, Matthew A. (802) 748-2629 & (603) 650-4268
(D) Kitchel, M. Jane (802) 684-3482

CHITTENDEN DISTRICT (6)
(X) Ashe, Timothy, (802) 318-0903
(D) Flanagan, Ed, (802) 862-3203
(D) Lyons, Virginia "Ginny" V., (802) 863-6129
(D) Miller, Hinda,(802) 862-7008 & (802) 660-4880
(D) Racine, Douglas A.,(802) 434-2013 & (802) 863-1141
(R) Snelling, Diane, (802) 482-4382

ESSEX-ORLEANS DISTRICT (2)
(R) Illuzzi, Vincent, (802) 334-2807
(D) Starr, Robert A., (802) 988-2877 & (802) 988-2281

FRANKLIN DISTRICT (2)
(R) Brock, Randy, (802) 868-2300
(D) Kittell, Sara Branon, (802) 827-3274

GRAND ISLE DISTRICT (1)
(D) Mazza, Richard T.,(802) 863-1067 & (802) 862-4065

LAMOILLE DISTRICT (1)
(D) Bartlett, Susan J.,(802) 888-5591

ORANGE DISTRICT (1)
(D) MacDonald, Mark A., (802) 433-5867

RUTLAND DISTRICT (3)
(D) Carris, Bill, (802) 438-5391 & (802) 773-9111
(R) Maynard, Hull P., (802) 773-3000 & (802) 773-3000
(R) Mullin, Kevin J., (802) 775-7631

WASHINGTON DISTRICT (3)
(D) Cummings, (802) 223-6043
(R) Doyle, William T., (802) 223-2851
(R) Scott, Philip B., (802) 223-5135

WINDHAM DISTRICT (2)
(D) Shumlin, (802) 387-4447
(D) White, Jeanette K., (802) 387-4379

WINDSOR DISTRICT (3)
(D) Campbell, (802) 295-6238
(D) McCormack, Richard J., (802) 234-5497
(D) Nitka, Alice W., (802) 228-8432

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Redefine marriage? Merriam Webster's already has


Surprising news from Beetle Blogger: In Merriam Webster's dictionary, the definition of marriage has been expanded to include same-sex unions.

As associate editor Kory Stamper responded to WorldNetDaily:

"We often hear from people who believe that we are promoting – or perhaps failing to promote – a particular social or political agenda when we make choices about what words to include in the dictionary and how those words should be defined," Stamper wrote in response.

"We hear such criticism from all parts of the political spectrum. We’re genuinely sorry when an entry in – or an omission from – one of our dictionaries is found to be offensive or upsetting, but we can’t allow such considerations to deflect us from our primary job as lexicographers."

What we have on our hands, as I've said before, is an Orwellian dilemma: if you can't change the words, just change what the words mean.

Then the societal changes happen without most people even being aware.





It's a hijacking of the lexicon - which is pretty absurd, considering that same-sex marriage is legal only in Massachusetts and Connecticut, not to mention the numerous states that have codified marriage as between a man and a woman.

The switch is so disingenuous - it ignores the majority opinions of the people. Social commentaries belong on the opinion page - not in the dictionary.

But, then again, these are the people who consider "jiggy" and "bling" part of our proper lexicon. I don't know that I really trust their grasp of the English language.

Countdown: two hours to "Voice of the Nation" debut

Hi, friends!

Just a reminder that UFI and DNA's new blog talk show, "Voice of the Nation," debuts at 2 p.m. today. To tune in, visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/MarriageandFamily.

For more info about the show and its fabulous hosts, Drew and Angela, visit the show's site (http://blogtalkfamilyvalues.wordpress.com/) or Facebook page.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Marriage talk show to hit the Web waves Thursday at 2 p.m.


Attention all marriage fans!

Are you interested in engaging your pro-family senses in brand new, audible fashion?

If you support traditional marriage and like talk radio, then you'll LOVE "Voice of the Nation," a new family values blog talk radio show that debuts THURSDAY at 2 p.m. Pacific / 5 p.m. Eastern.

Hosted by United Families International (UFI) Media Director Drew Conrad and my extraordinary blogging buddy Beetle Blogger (a.k.a. Angela, director of DNA), the hour-long weekly show will focus on promoting marriage, life, family and freedom.

Thursday's show will discuss same-sex marriage initiatives that are taking root across the country as well as summarize the recent happenings regarding the assault on the family at the UN.

UFI International Policy Director, Laura Knaperek, who was one of several UFI representatives at the UN during CSW, will be a guest on the show. Prior to joining UFI, Mrs. Knaperek served in the Arizona State Legislature for ten years. During her tenure as a State Representative, she established herself as an advocate for children, families and the disabled.

To listen to the show, CLICK HERE. More info is available on their homepage as well. If you like what you hear, be sure to become a fan on Facebook.

I'll be adding their badge to our blog (once I figure out those thingamajiggers... Hizzeather always did that high-tech stuff for me, lol. For a digital media professional, I'm not nearly as tech-savvy as I ought to be.).

(And I think that takes the cake for my most link-laden post EVER. *whew!*)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

U.S. to sign U.N. gay rights bill

Sources have said off the record that the U.S. is due to add its weight to a United Nations declaration that calls for the international decriminalization of homosexuality, according to the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration will endorse a U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality that then-President George W. Bush had refused to sign, The Associated Press has learned.

U.S. officials said Tuesday they had notified the declaration's French sponsors that the administration wants to be added as a supporter. The Bush administration was criticized in December when it was the only western government that refused to sign on.

The move was made after an interagency review of the Bush administration's position on the nonbinding document, which was signed by all 27 European Union members as well as Japan, Australia, Mexico and three dozen other countries, the officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Congress was still being notified of the decision. They said the administration had decided to sign the declaration to demonstrate that the United States supports human rights for all.
I find it interesting that Pres. Bush had the option of supporting this declaration in December, but his delegation refrained on the grounts that the U.S. opposed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but that parts of the declaration raised legal questions that needed further review, including parts that could commit the federal government on matters that fall under state jurisdiction. In some states, landlords and private employers are allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation; on the federal level, gays are not allowed to serve openly in the military. Obama's camp had no response as to whether the Bush team's concerns had been addressed.

Now, let me be clear - I don't think that homosexuality should be a legal crime. I disagree with gay marriage, but what people do behind closed doors is their business - they have their agency, and they'll be held accountable for their actions. Furthermore, I understand that it's punishable by law in some parts of the world, and I agree that that is wrong, as murder is in all its forms.

At the same time, though, I take issue with a superceding international government meddling with other nations' affairs. The U.N. includes more than 50 Islamic nations, some of whom said said at the time that protecting sexual orientation could lead to "the social normalization and possibly the legalization of deplorable acts" such as pedophilia and incest. The declaration was also opposed by the Vatican. Those nations should have the right to vote their conscience.

I swear, I'm growing more and more libertarian by the day! I like former agriculture secretary (and LDS leader) Ezra Taft Benson's view on the proper role of government: we can only invest the government with rights that we ourselves hold on an individual level. I don't have the right to compel my neighbor to be pro-gay or anti-gay, regardless of my views (and I only use the gay rights issue as an example - it's a universal principle). We have the basic rights with life and liberty that prevent that neighbor from encroaching on another's life and liberty - but too many of the things we hear called "rights" are not, in fact, the inalienable rights endowed to us by our Creator.

(And I'm not anti-gay, in case that wasn't clear.)

Anyways.

The U.S. official who spoke anonymously in the article said, "In the words of the United States Supreme Court, the right to be free from criminalization on the basis of sexual orientation 'has been accepted as an integral part of human freedom."

That attitude is what worries me the most in this whole thing. I don't disagree with the "free from criminalization" aspect, but since when is sexual orientation integrally part of human freedom? Oh, how I worry for my country and my world. We are so wrapped up in the sensual and the now that we have no regard for restraint and consequences. Unbridled sexual liberation dulls and weakens us, because it gives a physical realm to the concept of reckless indulgence, not to mention messing with some serious emotional and spiritual powers. That is just not a path you want to tread, but sadly, it's soooo the norm in our society today.

Well, not for everybody at least. There are still some of us who will stand up for virtue to the end - I may be only one, but I am one. And I know I'm not alone.

VT pushes for gay marriage despite drop in civil unions

As an addendum to yesterday's post about the Vermont legislature's consideration of a gender-neutered marriage bill, I found an interesting gem in this more in-depth AP story on MSNBC.com.

As you might recall, Vermont was the first state in the union to legalize civil unions back in 2000:

Supporters cast the debate as a civil rights issue, saying a civil unions law enacted by the state in 2000 has fallen short of the equality it promised same-sex couples. Its appeal has declined, too: In 2001, the state granted 1,876 civil unions, compared with only 262 last year.

To me, this makes no sense. Even though fewer and fewer gay couples are solemnizing their relationships before the state, the legislature is pushing to decimate traditional marriage.

The number of civil unions performed last year are only 14 percent of what they were in the first year - and, furthermore, those couples represent a mere 0.04 percent of the state's population.

It's tyranny of the minority, pure and simple.

Even if you're not a Vermonter, you can throw your support behind traditional marriage there by joining the Facebook group. Every battlefield counts in this effort to sustain the millenia-old model of the family as the foundation of our society.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Vermont to consider same-sex marriage this week


It looks like the "Green Mountain State" of Vermont will be the next in the union to consider legalizing same-sex marriage.

According to the Associated Press, legislators began a week of hearings today to discuss S. 115: An Act Relating to Civil Marriage, which would neuter marriage while moving the state's civil unions to same-sex marriage:


MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont lawmakers are starting a week of hearings on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

In 2000, Vermont became the first state in the U.S. to adopt civil unions. House and Senate leaders want to pass the gay marriage bill this legislative session, which ends in May.

Supporters say gay marriage would give couples additional rights related to insurance, health care and Social Security benefits.

Hundreds of gay marriage opponents are lobbying at the Vermont Statehouse. They say the bill would undermine the institution of marriage and harm children.

On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear testimony on the bill. More hearings are scheduled for later in the week.


If passed, same-sex couples could wed beginning Sept. 1, 2009. All legal references to marital or familial relationships in Vermont would be gender neutral as the legal definition moves from one man and one woman to any two people, stripping away all references to "bride," "groom," "husband," "wife," etc.

On the upside, the bill codifies clergy's right to refuse to solemnize the marriage, "if to do so would violate the clergyperson’s right to religious liberty protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by Chapter I, Article 3 of the Constitution of the State of Vermont." Hence why the bill can also be called "An Act to Protect Religious Freedom and Promote Equality in Civil Marriage." I guess that's a good thing... but it's still a definite step in the wrong direction.

If you're a Vermonter who opposes this, make your voice heard! Don't let your representatives make this important decision for you.

1. Call, e-mail, or write the legislators at the Vermont State House and tell them "No" to gay marriage. And contact Governor Jim Douglas and encourage him to not sign a gay marriage bill if it passes and comes to his desk.


2. Support pro-family organizations such as Vermont Renewal/Vermont Marriage Advisory Council, Let Vermont Vote and Take It to the People in their efforts to stop this legislation.

There's also a Facebook group for the cause - visit Defend the Natural Family: Stop Gay Marriage in Vermont! for more info.

Great video on fortifying the family

This video is by one of my favorite YouTubers, davidkat99 (of Latter-day Conservative). We are in a world that's lost its innocence and sense of reverence - but we can be in the world without letting it soil us. It's a blessing to rally together with others and stand strong to preserve and protect the family, the fundamental unit of our society.

Friday, March 13, 2009

BREAKING: Obama admin. sets pro-gay marriage and abortion agenda at UN TODAY


My blogging buddy Liberty Belle alerted me to the latest attack on conservative values from the Obama administration: the U.S. delegation to the UN is about to approve language in a UN document that goes against national law and against President Obama’s publicly proclaimed stance on gay marriage.

This is one to make a noise on!

Call/email/write your congressman: http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.shtml


Ask them to oppose the CSW Resolution on HIV/AIDS. Ask them if this wording by the U.S. delegation is approved by the United States and why they are trying to sneak it past us in bypassing our system of laws. This wording proposed by our delegation to the U.N. goes against our own country’s laws!

Make sure this doesn’t get past us!

Although U.N. resolutions are non-binding, having this on the books will come back to bite us. It charts the course for hundreds of nations and pushes us further down the slippery slope into moral decay on a global scale.

See this from United Families International who is actually AT the United Nations today fighting to stop this change:

The United States representative to the U.N. is making a move that goes against national law and President Obama’s position on gay marriage. Please call your Congressman or U.S. Senator and protest the U.S. delegation’s position.

U.N. Delegations are planning on adopting the CSW Resolution on HIV/AIDS. This document references “The International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS” as adopted by the Second International Consultation on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, and as amended and endorsed at the Third International supported by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UNAIDS.

The HIV/AIDS and Human Rights International Guidelines have the following language included as referenced below:

30. (f) “Laws should also be enacted to ensure women’s reproductive and sexual rights, including the right of independent access to reproductive and STD health information and services and means of contraception, including safe and legal abortion and the freedom to choose among these, the right to determine number and spacing of children . . .”

30. (h) “Anti-discrimination and protective laws should be enacted to reduce human rights violations against men having sex with men . . . ”

30. (h) “. . . These measures should include providing penalties for vilification of people who engage in same-sex relationships, giving legal recognition to same sex marriages . . .”

Developing….

Link to document:

http://data.unaids.org/publications/irc-pub02/jc520-humanrights_en.pdf

**********************************************
If you want something copy-and-pasteable:

Dear Sen. Boxer -

I'm writing to ask you to please oppose the CSW Resolution on HIV/AIDS that the U.S. delegation to the U.N. plans to adopt.

Is this wording by the U.S. delegation approved by the United States? If so, then why is it bypassing our system of laws? This wording proposed by our delegation to the U.N. goes against our own country’s laws, and its mission to endorse/promote abortions and gay marriage on a global scale go against my beliefs and those of many within the great state of California.

Furthermore, I think such a resolution goes beyond the scope of the power the U.N. should have. We should not have a global government that tells nations across the world what to do - and I certainly do not believe this bill is in harmony with America's current statutes.

Thank you for your time - I hope you are well.

**signature

(And yes, sending this to Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer did seem a little superfluous, seeing as they'll likely ignore it, but whatev. At least I raised my voice to my three politicians in Washington - and in less than three minutes, too. You can do it as well!)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Live Tweets of the CA Prop. 8 marriage hearings


Good news! The Yes on 8 folks are live-Tweeting the marriage hearings: http://twitter.com/protectmarriage

The official DNA Twitter team is Tweeting as well: http://twitter.com/DNA_Army

Twitter is such a great way to keep in the loop. Stay tuned for more...

Tune into the Prop. 8 court hearings!

Today is the day - as we speak, the California Supreme Court is hearing arguments on three lawsuits opposing Prop. 8.

Shannon Minter, Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco, will first argue against Prop 8. Minter is a transsexual who changed to self-identifying as a man over a decade ago.

Ken Starr, former U.S. Solicitor General, will then argue in favor of Prop 8."We will not mince words," Starr wrote in his court papers. "The attorney general is inviting this court to declare a constitutional revolution."

If you can and want to tune in, you can watch the oral arguments online (for free) at http://www.calchannel.com/.

Sadly, I'm tied to my desk and work stuff today - I'll check my DNA colleagues' blogs throughout the day and update as I can. If you want to keep in the loop, check out the Twitter hashtags #prop8 and #tcot or #dna and #tcot for more info (searching these two together sifts through the unrelated stuff) or keep an eye on the blogs in our blogroll - particularly BeetleBlogger, PearlDiver, Stand, The Pomegranate Apple, the Opine Editorials, the Journalista Chronicle and the DNA homepage.

(Big thanks to Zoey at Stand for Marriage for the heads-up!)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

(RUMOR): 200,000 gay protestors plan to disrupt LDS General Conference

UPDATE: I've just been alerted that the email below is a rumor, according to KSL - but, in good social media practices, I'm leaving the post up. Hopefully this'll help dispel the rumor. Here's the KSL report, FYI:

An inflammatory e-mail is circulating around the country, saying Salt Lake City police officers are preparing for up to 200,000 protesters during the LDS General Conference in April, and it's causing concern in both the Latter-day Saint and gay communities.

The e-mail begins with reference to a good friend whose dad, who supposedly works for the Salt Lake City Police Department, says police are putting in extra hours doing riot training.

"The training they are possibly referring to is this routine training that we do every year on crowd control techniques and protest," said Detective Dennis McGowan, spokesman for the Salt Lake City Police Department.

McGowan added, "You know, thanks for the opportunity, though, to get this out to everyone that, as far as our concern at this point in time, these are rumors and everyone can stand down."

Last November, some 2,000 protesters marched around Temple Square in reaction to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' support of California's Proposition 8, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Those who marched then had protest permits from Salt Lake City. At this point, only a Latter-day Saint group has asked for a permit. Its members want to sing hymns outside the Conference Center to combat a shouting Christian group.

Equality Utah public policy manager Will Carlson says his organization heard the buzz about this e-mail a month ago. Members are concerned that it's fear-mongering.

"The gay and transgender community hasn't been talking about doing protests. The only talk about the first weekend in April was doing a service project for at-risk communities," Carlson said. "This is not the right approach, and we wouldn't support, we don't support it. We know this is not true, but even if it were, we wouldn't support it."

Dozens of Salt Lake City police officers are on duty every conference weekend for traffic and crowd control because more than 100,000 Latter-day Saints attend meetings over the two days. Officers anticipate some protests because there have been for years.


**********************************************

Every six months - the first weekends of April and October - Latter-day Saints the world over gather together via television, Internet and satellite communications to hear from our top leaders (or "General Authorities"), who speak from the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City, across from Temple Square.

General Conference, as these meetings are called, is a big deal. LDS people travel from all over to attend the conference in person - the Conference Center is so huge, you can fit a 747 inside of it! Conference is a spiritual highlight for us, getting to hear from the men and women we sustain as God's mouthpieces, delivering messages that really hit home and encourage us all to live a little better. Or a lot better. General Conference is a very special, sacred time for Latter-day Saints.

So, with that context - I just got this email forward from a friend that I wanted to pass along:


Subject: 200,000 Gay Protestors to Disrupt General Conference

I was speaking with a good friend today who's dad works for the Salt Lake City Police Department. My friend asked him how things were going for him at work and he said that he'd been putting in extra hours doing riot control training. He asked what on earth were they doing that for, and he told him that the entire police force was going through an additional 10 hours of mandatory riot control training because the city is bracing for an influx of 10,000 to 200,000 Gay protesters that want to disrupt this coming General Conference.

I asked how does your dad know how many people will be showing up. He said that the protest permits had already been applied for and that the police, in doing a little intelligence gathering off of the groups websites, found out that they are "strenuously striving" to get as many people there as possible. The 200,000 number is the goal that they want to have on Conference weekend.

But what really worries the police are that the gay protest groups have aligned themselves with a couple of anarchist groups who make it their goal in life to cause as much trouble as possible. These are the groups that show up at protests and you have anarchists running through the streets throwing bricks, Molotov Cocktails, and what not, breaking windows, burning cars and businesses, and attacking innocent citizens and by standers. Their only goal is to provoke a reaction from the police and the citizenry. Can you imagine this going on while Church members are standing in line waiting to enter the Conference Center? His dad further said that the Salt Lake Police in discussing what happened in California with the police there were
informed of some of the inflammatory tactics that the gay protesters used down there including ripping up Book of Mormons, having people parade around wearing only temple garments or wearing them in comb with typical homosexual drag queen clothing. WOW WHAT A SIGHT.

Anyway, the police are planning on canceling all leave to have every officer on hand for the conference, and depending on how many people start showing up and call in the Utah National Guard. Unless something unforeseen happens this is shaping up to be a major event for the police, the Church, and all major news broadcasters.

So, I'm hoping this doesn't happen, of course - but if you're heading to Conference, brace yourself.

There are protestors at every General Conference (including anti-abortion people, which I've always found funny, considering the Church's strong anti-abortion stance), so that's nothing new - but this will be over the top if it happens.

Agree or disagree, I sure wish people could have respect for one another. I think people can voice outrage and opposition without insult. I had an interesting conversation the other night via Facebook with a high-school friend who's adamantly atheist and anti-Prop. 8. She'd just seen the South Park episode that pokes fun at the Joseph Smith story, the founding of my faith that I hold sacred, and she was asking me for my thoughts the show - which were difficult to translate into words. Basically I disagreed with the form but not content - people are entitled to their opinions, but it bothers me when a difference in opinion devolves to mockery and disrespect. Obviously the episode twisted truth into something scoffable, and veiling opposition with humor seems so disingenuous to me. It's so uncalled for and unnecessary.

I might not agree with gay marriage, but you would never in a million years find me making fun of it - mostly because I respect the individuals, even if I disagree with their actions. In the midst of the Prop. 8 battle in the fall, LDS leaders urged respect and tolerance from us toward the anti-Prop. 8 people, reminding us that there are good people on that side of the fence. Too bad the door doesn't swing both ways.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Less Shouting, More Talking

Great Article in Newsweek
Less Shouting, More Talking
Yes, I voted for Prop 8. Yes, I oppose gay marriage. But that doesn't make me a religious fundamentalist.

"I thought you guys had already voted on that thing"

On Sunday I updated my facebook status to say "Heather is praying for Prop 8." My friend commented, "I thought you guys had already voted on that thing." Yeah, Richard, I thought I did too!

So why am I worried about Prop 8? I couldn't put it better than Blogger970 said in their Opinion Essay: I Thought Prop 8 Passed. Why do I Still Need to Worry About It? -
"Because the Governor, the Attorney General, the Legislature and the Supreme Court of California, along with the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Clara are all conspiring to once again overturn the vote of the people last Nov. 4th. The State Supreme Court will hear arguments and is expected to nullify Prop 8 this Thursday, March 5th!"


Please read their Opinion Essay, and please don't give up and think that this matter was resolved. If you can, PLEASE get to the San Fransisco Courthouse on Thursday and let your voice be HEARD! I know the other side is getting organized...they have meeting places and are all going to wear white. DO NOT WEAR WHITE!

From the DNA Website -

Californians on March 5th---If you can go to the courthouse in San Francisco here are some tips:
1. All messages on homemade signs should affirm traditional marriage, and avoid offensive statements regarding alternative lifestyles.
2. Arrive at the courthouse by 8am
3. Avoid violence and provocation. Our purpose is affirming traditional marriage.

The other side is slightly louder than us, hijacking the Oscars and the mainstream media. We need to be even louder to compensate. LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!

Monday, March 2, 2009

CA legislature urges the overturn of Prop. 8

Just days before the important Prop. 8 hearings at the California Supreme Court, California lawmakers overstepped their bounds within the principle of separation of powers and passed resolutions to overturn Prop. 8.

The amazing BeetleBlogger reports:

This update just came screaming down the wires from Karen England at the Capitol….

California Legislature Violates Separation of Powers, Passes Anti-Prop 8 Resolutions

Moments ago the Assembly and Senate passed resolutions stating their opposition to Proposition 8.

Both houses of the state legislature are trying to go on record opposing Proposition 8 prior to the California Supreme Court’s hearing of the lawsuits against Proposition 8 on Thursday. In lengthy floor debates, Democrats passed HR 5 (Ammiano) and SR 7 (Leno), which express the opinion of the legislature that Proposition 8 was an unconstitutional revision and must be ruled invalid. However, the legislature’s passage of HR 5 and SR 7 violates the separation of powers doctrine which clearly instructs the legislature to refrain from influencing the judicial process, particularly pending legal cases.

Many Democrats rose to speak out against Proposition 8, even those from districts that clearly voted in favor of Proposition 8. “How arrogant for these lawmakers to express their personal opposition to Proposition 8 and try to persuade the court when their constituents voted in favor of traditional marriage,” stated Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Institute.

Assemblyman Van Tran eloquently pointed out that HR 5 is an attempt to “retroactively disenfranchise the votes of over 7 million voters” who passed
Proposition 8. He explained that HR 5 is also an “illegal ex parte communication with the court.” Tran went on to chastise the Democrats for seeking to unduly influence the judicial review of Proposition 8 after the people had voted, and the legislature is politicizing the judicial process just a few days before the hearing.

Republican assemblymen Chuck DeVore, Ted Gaines, Joel Anderson, Steve Knight, Mike Villines and Dan Logue all rose to speak out against HR 5 and affirm the people’s right to pass Proposition 8.

Joel Anderson called on this fellow lawmakers to refrain from interpreting the law in the legislature, leaving that constitutional duty to the judicial branch.

http://www.capitolresource.org


*****

Christa here again. Seriously, this is getting so frustrating! What do you do when the constitutional, proper channels for decision making in this nation fail? I feel nigh unto my wit's end, thinking that all the hours and hours of time - not to mention the thousands of dollars of hard-earned money - that went to pass Prop. 8 will go down the drains with the court's ruling. The people have voted twice, and yet representatives spoke up against their constituents' votes, and the activist judges are unlikely to uphold the vote.

All we can do is to pray. Pray hard, and remind God that there are still those who will fight for what's right, regardless of what circumstances we face. There really is no other choice. Even if our victories get taken from us, the choices we make and the stances we take never can. In the end, that's going to have to matter more than the final outcome.