Kate Kendell

Renewed Hope

Filed By Kate Kendell | May 02, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: California, California State Supreme Court, gay marriage, marriage equality, Prop 8, Prop. 8, same-sex marriage

With its groundbreaking marriage decision a year ago, the California Supreme Court set us on a path that -- despite some setbacks -- has led to one marriage victory a week in the past month: A first-ever unanimous state supreme court ruling in Iowa; a huge victory in Vermont, where there was strong enough support for marriage equality to override their Governor's veto; and tremendous movement in the legislatures of New Hampshire and Maine, with similar progress likely in the months ahead in New York and New Jersey. The result has been a profound sea change in public opinion, including my own view of what the next month will bring here in California.

Just this week, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll showed "a sharp shift in public opinion on same-sex marriage. Forty-nine percent said it should be legal for gay people to marry" -- an 11 point shift from a similar poll conducted by the Post just three years ago.

I have always believed the California Supreme Court should strike down Prop 8 because the law is so overwhelmingly on our side. But I feared that other factors might result in an adverse decision. That fear has now been replaced by hope as courts and legislatures -- as well as public opinion -- have moved sharply in our direction. The Court can cement its legacy by overturning Prop 8 and upholding our Constitution's promise of equal protection. Or it can cause untold pain and hardship to our community and forever undermine the independence of the judiciary and the historic role of the courts in protecting minority rights.

I believe the Court will do the right thing.


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You honestly think the Court is going to pay attention to public opinion polls a month before their decision is due? And if they were, you think this is a good thing? Regardless of how one feels about the decision, public opinion polls should not be a factor in it.

Your reasoning is flawed. Just like the campaign you spearheaded to defeat this initiative.

Only when GLBTs insist on sweeping aside the old stale guard will real change occur. As of now, it is happening in spite of, not because of, your actions and hopes.

Only when GLBTs insist on sweeping aside the old stale guard will real change occur. As of now, it is happening in spite of, not because of, your actions and hopes.
I disagree. According to a lengthy Washington Post article, the ruling of the Iowa Supreme Court capped a seven year effort of strategizing and organizing. I think we are only just beginning to see the fruits of such efforts.

I should clarify. Lambda Legal does excellent work, and seems to be one of the few GLBT organizations these days to actually being doing things right. Also note how they did it-by thinking outside the box.

A lot of organizations would do well to follow this blueprint.

You're talking to the center that helped bring gay marriage to California before Prop 8 came in.

Does the blueprint include only supporting orgs with the most recent win?

After all, before Prop 8 there was a challenge to actually get same-sex marriage... Lead attorney? NCLR's Shannon Minter.

So if Iowa were to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot and Lambda took the lead in opposing it but lost, would you be castigating them as "stale guard" and being rude to them online? It seems your anger is a little misplaced, Chuck. I understand being angry, but perhaps you could focus it on our enemies instead of our comrades.

No, it doesn't include supporting only the most recent winner. But it does include supporting those with actual tangible results or a blueprint that leads one to believe they will produce actual results.

Lambda Legal has a reputation for building excellent cases with excellent plaintiffs in appropriate venues. Other groups seem to exist only to pad the pocketbooks of top staff. When they actually have work on an initiative that their years of experience would suggest would be routine, such as Prop 8, they falter-badly.

A tree is judged by the fruit it bears.

"hope" and "green shoots" don't mean anything. Just words, like "Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again". Good for tap dancing, but little else. You are a non profit clone from the "good times". Get used to the bad times ahead. No donations ahead for non profits, just unemployment.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | May 3, 2009 4:55 PM

Kate, I'm 100% on board with you in hoping the California Supreme Court overturns Proposition 8. But I think your hoping on the basis that popular opinion polls will somehow sway the Court is inherently contradictory to the thought that courts are there to protect the rights of the minority versus the tyranny of the majority (as often expressed in some pretty lopsided polls). Ya can't have it both ways.