Alex Blaze

Prop 8 updates: Lawsuits, protests, and civility

Filed By Alex Blaze | November 07, 2008 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: ACLU, California, gay marriage, lawsuits, marriage, marriage equality, Mormon, Prop. 8, protest, racism, same-sex marriage

Lawsuits. Three lawsuits have been filed to prevent Prop 8 from taking effect, one by the ACLU, NCLR, and Lambda Legal, another by the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco and Santa Clara County, and the other by Gloria Allred on behalf of a lesbian couple. Their argument is process:

Lawyers for same-sex couples argued that the anti-gay-marriage measure was an illegal constitutional revision -- not a more limited amendment, as backers maintained -- because it fundamentally altered the guarantee of equal protection. A constitutional revision, unlike an amendment, must be approved by the Legislature before going to voters.

The state high court has twice before struck down ballot measures as illegal constitutional revisions, but those initiatives involved "a broader scope of changes," said former California Supreme Court Justice Joseph Grodin, who publicly opposed Proposition 8 and was part of an earlier legal challenge to it. The court has suggested that a revision may be distinguished from an amendment by the breadth and the nature of the change, Grodin said

More after.

The queer side goes further and is arguing that the ballot initiative illegally limited the court's power to define fundamental rights.

Jennifer Pizer, a staff lawyer for Lambda Legal, said the initiative met the test of a revision because it had far-reaching magnitude.

"The magnitude here is that you are effectively rendering equal protection a nullity if a simple majority can so easily carve an exception into it," she said. "Equal protection is supposed to prevent the targeting and subjugation of a minority group by a simple majority vote."

This is the same argument that the NCLR made back in June, but was rejected by the court (not on substance, but because they were hesitant to make a decision on a proposition that might not even pass).

Protests.TowleRoad has a list of Prop 8 protests in California, but the big one was last night in LA in front of the Mormon temple. An estimated 3000 people showed up.

Unacceptable. This is where the "blame the blacks" meme ends up. Rod received an email describing people's actions at the Mormon temple protest last night:

It was like being at a klan rally except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks. YOU NIGGER, one man shouted at men. If your people want to call me a FAGGOT, I will call you a nigger. Someone else said same thing to me on the next block near the and my friend were walking, he is also gay but Korean, and a young WeHo clone said after last night the niggers better not come to West Hollywood if they knew what was BEST for them.

As much as some people in the comments on this site may think it helps, this does nothing for the LGBT community. This behavior turns people off and loses us allies. It's not "speaking truth to power" or any other justification you can think up for it.

If you're a loser who thinks this is the way to win the battle, please just stay home the next protest.

Taxation. A petition is already underway to make the LDS Church lose its tax-exempt status:

That's why we are seeking to strip the Mormon church of its status as a religious organization. According to IRS law, "no organization, including a church, may qualify for IRC section 501(c)(3) status if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation (commonly known as lobbying)."

Please join our efforts and show the world that gay people -- and their friends and families -- know how to hit back. Sign this petition to support the legal effort to strip the Mormon Church of its tax-exempt status.

More on taxation. Melissa Etheridge calls Prop 8 "taxation without representation":

Okay. So Prop 8 passed. Alright, I get it. 51% of you think that I am a second class citizen. Alright then. So my wife, uh I mean, roommate? Girlfriend? Special lady friend? You are gonna have to help me here because I am not sure what to call her now. Anyways, she and I are not allowed the same right under the state constitution as any other citizen. Okay, so I am taking that to mean I do not have to pay my state taxes because I am not a full citizen. I mean that would just be wrong, to make someone pay taxes and not give them the same rights, sounds sort of like that taxation without representation thing from the history books.

Okay, cool I don't mean to get too personal here but there is a lot I can do with the extra half a million dollars that I will be keeping instead of handing it over to the state of California. Oh, and I am sure Ellen will be a little excited to keep her bazillion bucks that she pays in taxes too. Wow, come to think of it, there are quite a few of us fortunate gay folks that will be having some extra cash this year. What recession? We're gay! I am sure there will be a little box on the tax forms now single, married, divorced, gay, check here if you are gay, yeah, that's not so bad. Of course all of the waiters and hairdressers and UPS workers and gym teachers and such, they won't have to pay their taxes either.

And "civil discourse" stupidity. Get this:

Church officials made few public statements during the campaign. On Thursday, they issued a statement asking for "a spirit of mutual respect and civility."

"The Church acknowledges that such an emotionally charged issue concerning the most personal and cherished aspects of life -- family and marriage -- stirs fervent and deep feelings," church spokeswoman Kim Farah wrote in an e-mail. "No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information." She did not elaborate.

No one should be vilified? No one should be subject to "erroneous information"? Um, excuse me? That's exactly what the LDS Church was selling for these past few months in California.

They want civil discourse now. Well, that's fresh. They weren't willing to participate in civil discourse up to now, and I see no reason why they'd start now either.

This is just another way to gloat and rub salt into those wounds. They know it and they're getting off on it. They're the least credible people to be making that argument right now.

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Reformed Ascetic | November 7, 2008 3:59 PM


1. The behavior you describe under "unacceptable" is truly shameful in the traditional sense. It brings shame to all of us.

I grew up in a time and place where reputations were real and mattered. I believe they still do. I do not want this as part of my reputation, either personally or by association.

Sometimes when you're in too much pain to think clearly, it's better to stand silently rather than say things you will have to live with for the rest of your life.

2. But now a question about the lawsuits:

I saw in one article that Allred was claiming to have a new and unique legal argument, but that article didn't say what it was and no other has mentioned it so far.

Is this true? And if so, is there any word about what it may be?

3. I've been thinking about something along the lines of the LDS taxation initiative and possibly other LGBT originated initiatives. This even showed up in a sign in Sara Whitman's picture of the demonstrations But I can't decide if this is actually a strategically advantageous way to go.

I'm also not sure if it is moral. Sure, I'm really mad at the LDS church now (and others), and that is definitely making me want to lash out and confusing me about the issues. I would easily welcome an IRS investigation into everyone's tax exempt status regarding their participation in initiatives around the country, but that is a law that applies to everyone.

Yeah, on the lawsuits, here's the relevant part of the ACLU press release:

The lawsuit was filed today in the California Supreme Court on behalf of
Equality California and 6 same-sex couples who did not marry before
Tuesday¹s election but would like to be able to marry now.

The groups filed a writ petition in the California Supreme Court before the
elections presenting similar arguments because they believed the initiative
should not have appeared on the ballot, but the court dismissed that
petition without addressing its merits. That earlier order is not precedent

³Historically, courts are reluctant to get involved in disputes if they can
avoid doing so,² said Shannon Minter, Legal Director of NCLR. ³It is not
uncommon for the court to wait to see what happens at the polls before
considering these legal arguments. However, now that Prop 8 may pass, the
courts will have to weigh in and we believe they will agree that Prop 8
should never have been on the ballot in the first place.²

This would not be the first time the court has struck down an improper voter
initiative. In 1990, the court stuck down an initiative that would have
added a provision to the California Constitution stating that the
³Constitution shall not be construed by the courts to afford greater rights
to criminal defendants than those afforded by the Constitution of the United
States.² That measure was invalid because it improperly attempted to strip
California¹s courts of their role as independent interpreters of the state¹s

Reformed Ascetic | November 7, 2008 5:19 PM

Maybe I've been misreading the articles.

I was under the impression this was the stance being taken by the attorney general and ACLU and such.

I was thinking that Allred was representing one already wed couple in particular and that she was claiming a unique argument separate from the others.

Thanks for the clarification.

Are you implying that some commenters think that calling someone "nigger" among other racial epithets is helpful? Talk about strawman.

On another note, I hope you're right and that the previous lawsuits were rejected because they were thought premature rather than because the courts saw no merit in the arguments.

Or strawwoman!

Jeez, Lucrece, stop being so sexist.

Oh, yeah, and a substantive response: Take some responsibility for the rhetoric that black people caused this, etc.

While the "Blame the Blacks" crowd might not condone using the n-word, it's the direct effect of their actions.

I see being with serena has taught you very little. Strawwomyn is the proper alternative. Take note, Serena!

Substantive response? You're reaching, and you know it. Black people caused this? Quote any of my posts. I voiced disgust over their overwhelming support of the measure, not that they were the only ones responsible.

It's like saying that all your derisive talk of Log Cabin Republicans has led to harassment and attacks on them. Laughable. The effect is nowhere near direct, and to suggest so betrays your motives ;).

Reformed Ascetic | November 7, 2008 9:31 PM

LGBT people, medical professionals, epidemiologists, et cetera often talk about connections between HIV/AIDS without anyone even thinking about accusing them of homophobia.

Others commonly use irrational interpretations of data to further their own homophobic agenda. And we all know how twisted and ugly that can become.

The two distinct actions are connected in form not substance.

Exactly. Alex took one isolated incident, and went "Aha! This is what *position he assigned to people, not the people's original ones* causes!".

The worst part is that he knows better. It comes down to whether he's willing to sacrifice validity/honesty for the sake of imposing his ideology.

Actually, no, wait, I'm coming back to this, even though I think what you're saying is ridiculous.

I have a question: What do you want from the LGBT rights movement here? Prop 8 didn't pass, so do you want everyone to say that it's black people's fault? Do you want black LGBT people kicked out of the movement?

You keep on changing your position, so I'm wondering: what's a win for you in this argument?

Tell me how all these strawmans are associated to the comment you replied to. Frankly, THAT's what I find ridiculous.

You're not the center of the universe, Lucrece. You're not the only one race-baiting on this issue.

But an ideology to impose? Seriously?

Finally, you got it off your chest. You had to make the accusation. Now, to back up your accusation.

Or will you go timid on us like the last conversation, since you didn't have a choir to parrot along to?

Lucrece, I'm lost. And I even asked you what you were arguing about above, and you weren't able to answer.

Obviously this entire thing is just a pissing contest for you. You're saying that if I don't respond further, you win. So congratulations, you win.

I could do without your presumptuous demeanor. Trust me, it doesn't make you cute.

You didn't ask me what we were arguing about; you framed the conversation. Why would I want to end a discussion with It's black people's fault". Even if it actually were were, what's the purpose of saying so? I would be far more interested in the repercussions. Why would I want black people to not be part of the LGBT community? The more voices we add to our narrative, the larger amount of people we will be able to reach. And yet, you keep insisting on piling these smears. You'll have to excuse me if I press you to have an argument that doesn't involve such pettiness.

What we're arguing about is your ridiculous implication that Projectors would be responsible of fomenting racial hatred-- and these rare events of ignorance-- by associating these events with people expressing their anger over the puzzling disconnect between two groups with close encounters with discrimination. Does expressing annoyance/hurt at the fact that one group you would expect to be a fervent ally constantly polls against you comprise "race-baiting", as you were so eager to conclude?

What a hypocritical statement. So it is okay to criticize Mormons, but African Americans? Last time I checked all the polls stated they voted 70% for prop 8. You may not like the term political correctness, but that is exactly what you are preaching. Maybe outreach will come later, but not know the wounds are to fresh.

Not the PC discourse again, please. I will go deaf if I have to hear it again.

Lucrece : In the same-sex rights movement we need leaders who don't siphon off their time and energy into worrying about every other minority, some of who are generally NOT our allies. If those gay rights leaders want to do that, they should do so on their own time and not impose it on the rest of us. Gays and lesbians are left-wing, right-wing, Democrat, Republican, Independent, Communist, militaristic, pacifist, racist, non-racist, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Hindu, Israelis who hate Palestinians, Russians who hate Jews, English who hate the Irish, police, drug-dealers, political, apolitical, adonis-like, overweight, polite, rude, etc etc etc. We've ranged from Alexander to horrible Ernst Roehm to Allan Ginsburg to everything in between. We are not all Rainbow-Flag-Embrace-Everybody. We need leaders solely and coldly focused on the rights of same-sex-preference people, no matter who they are. It's the only way to get very REAL laws passed.

We need leaders solely and coldly focused on the rights of same-sex-preference people, no matter who they are. It's the only way to get very REAL laws passed.

Wrong. When you're a small percentage of the voting population and don't have other significant resources/power (control over key sectors of the economy or the like), the way to get laws passed is to build coalitions through both persuasion and by supporting each others issues. And it's the right thing to do--protecting the rights of sexual and gender minorities is analogous to protecting the rights of other minorities or oppressed groups.

By the way, the most reliable legislative allies for GLBT folks have been black legislators (the CBC has the most pro-GLBT voting record).

The pc bull that runs through progressive blogs is madness. Notice how they have been cowed into dropping liberal. Yes Yes AA are not solely to blame, but they helped a hell of a lot.