Friday, November 14, 2008

Same Sex Marriage Supporters Go To Court

By Karen Grigsby Bates
NPR Morning Edition

In California, protesters are still marching more than a week after voters approved a change in the state constitution — to ban gay marriage.

Critics have filed a stack of lawsuits hoping to overturn the measure, known as Proposition 8. They're also turning up the heat on some individuals who supported it.

At El Coyote, a Tex-Mex restaurant on the edge of Hollywood, the normal menu of tacos and enchiladas was supplemented with something else: protest.

"El Coyote takes your gay dollar to fund gay hatred," John Dennison shouted, pacing in front of the restaurant. He's outraged that one of El Coyote's owners, a devout Mormon, reportedly gave $100 to the campaign for Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban.

"I was married a week ago. Thanks to those great folks at El Coyote and others like them, maybe I'm not today," he said — or maybe he is.

When Proposition 8 passed, it amended the California Constitution to limit marriage to one man and one woman. Almost immediately, gay rights activists and sympathetic politicians launched a legal challenge. They say because Prop 8 would revise existing law, it has to be decided by two-thirds of the Legislature, not by voters.

In any case, it isn't the first time controversial California initiatives have been challenged in court.

"Prop 187, which denied benefits to undocumented aliens, was ultimately struck down in the courts. Prop 209, that ended affirmative action by the state of California and local governments, was challenged in the courts and was ultimately upheld. So it's not at all surprising there's a legal challenge to Proposition 8," said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of law at University of California, Irvine.

And it wouldn't be the first time the state constitution had been amended, says Ethan Leib, a law professor at the Hastings College of Law at University of California, San Francisco:

"The California Constitution, since its adoption in 1897, has been amended something like 500 times," Leib said.

So what does this latest amendment do to the marriages of people like John Dennison?

"In my view, they are null and void," said Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit group that assists organizations seeking to preserve traditional family and religious values.

Staver likens passage of Prop 8 to the U.S. Constitution's 13th Amendment.

"When it was passed, it abolished slavery. You were not grandfathered in as a slave holder, and you did not carry on your property interest in a slave after passage of the 13th Amendment," Staver said.

But Chemerinsky disagrees.

"There is a general presumption in California law that changes in rights apply only prospectively, and by this notion, since Prop 8 doesn't say it applies retroactively, any existing same-sex marriage would still be valid," Chemerinsky said.

Leib says he believes same-sex marriage will eventually be state law, but he thinks challenging the voters' will might be the wrong way to get there.

"We can convince more people that our sense of decency requires it, or we can ask judges to ram it down the throats of 5 million people who, though misguided, have made their views known," Leib said.

The owner of El Coyote offered free lunches in hopes of mending fences with her gay clientele. But protester Sam Borelli, who met with her, says it will take more than that.

"She said that she loves the community, she loves the people that are here, but she had to do what her church told her to do," Borelli said.

This story aired on NPR's Morning Edition radio program. Link live to Morning Edition every morning starting at 3:30 AM PST via Bosco Radio: News and Information in the sidebar.


Onanite said...

It is sad that a small majority of voters can force prejudice on the minority. That is what the courts are for to remedy the wrong perpetrated by the few against the minority.

Good luck California.

Doug Vehle said...

Well, Dave Ross of CBS asked the question of one state that passed an amendment barring gay marriage AND divorce 'If you DON'T want them married, why not let them get divorced?' ("Well, we couldn't stop you from getting married in time, but we sure can KEEP you that way.") And don't forget Joel Stein of the 'LA Times,' proposing a day of no gay. (Remember a day without Mexicans?),0,6416985.column

It seems that us nongay humorists are accomplishing far more than the gays themselves are by sending that white powder in the mail. (Oh, those gays must be SO PROUD.) One more riot in the streets and we might have a ballot proposition ORDERING days of no gays.

So tell me, what in the world IS the big issue? In spite of losing the 2000 election, George Dubya Bush seized office, did incalculable harm to the world in general and the U.S. in particular, but no, he'll never be prosecuted. At least he's at last going to be out of office. And Barack Obama, in spite of losing the primary race in 2008 and lacking any credentials to recommend him is now going to be allowed to do additional harm to our country in general and our economy in particular. At least it'll only be 4 years. (I wonder if he'll have the integrity to step down without running in 2012.)

Are the gays complaining because, FOR JUST THIS ONCE, the majority rules?

I'll tell you what: I'm far madder about the fact that even when the majority IS on my side, we STILL don't get our way. Seems like when the bad guys are the majority, the bad guys win. And when the GOOD guys are the majority, the bad guys still win.

Allen might remember that before I was old enough to vote I was opposing Jimmy Carter becoming president, as he wasn't ready. So 4 years later they offer up someone WORSE to oppose him, giving us an even worse president. Dang, the only time my guy ever won, it was Clinton. Which only goes to show, when I'm right, I'M RIGHT. Good things happen when I'm in the majority and we get our way. Far too rare a combination.

My guy won in 2000, received the majority of the votes, and the other side was PROVEN to have committed a crime in Florida refusing to let those 90,000 Gore supporters vote, but Dubya got to TAKE office and reek havoc. The majority didn't get our way, even after the official investigation revealed its' results, unfortunately AFTER 9/11 and during larger concerns. (Larger concerns that the majority choice would have dealt with better.) When a majority decided to let Dubya continue to do evil in 2004, the rest of us, those of morals and conscience who believe American should FIGHT evil instead of creating it, well, we just had to take it. And wait for our turn in 2008. . .

. . . .Only to be cheated AGAIN, when the winner of the primary process, the candidate who kept reminding us all that under the NORMAL system she'd have already locked up the nomination with her greater number of votes cast in her favor, had her victory taken away when a crazy new system was put in place to give 5 votes each to a single politician, and the voters ourselves only got to share 1 for each 10,000 of us. If the majority ruled, we'd be getting the competent president who could fix things. Why wasn't it the MAJORITY choice on the ballot?

Because the politicians yet again thought it would be hip and trendy to go with yet another hack, to go with yet another lying of the tired old promise of 'Change,' (Meet the new change, same as the old change) and trot out yet a new round of attacks on those of us not kewl enough to see Emperor Obama's new CHANGE of clothes. Or I should say not DISHONEST enough to see it.

So I'll tell anyone: Don't howl mindlessly at me because the majority is getting it's way this one time on gay marriage. If that happened more often, this country would be a better place right now.

Don't tell me that it doesn't matter that twice, TWICE, people have voted. I don't care one way or the other about gay marriage, but I sure as hell care about bullies forcing things on the majority. When the menacing gay groups THREATEN schools that want to tell parents if anything is being taught in the classrooms about gays, oh I care a lot about that. When children with ages in single digits are menaced to sign statements supporting gay marriage under threat of punitive action, oh I care a lot about that. (Fired? Such psychopaths should have been ARRESTED.) When kids are taken out of the school on a school day, without the parents knowledge, and delivered to a gay marriage under the lie of a 'Teachable moment,' (Just how dishonest can someone be?) well, let's just say I care a lot about anything where families are told they have no rights and some small minority is going to bully their way.

And therefore I say, a state that has Proposition 2 on the ballot to protect food animals in the way they're killed and passes it DAMN WELL BETTER pass Proposition 8 to protect the kids from that same ballot. Marriage of ANY kind is not a right. Hell, gays are rioting against the Mormons, who don't get to have marriage THEIR way, either, remember? Oh yeah, something about protecting the kids. . . .

So hey, on the one hand I have far less sympathy for the Mormons. Before 2001, there was September 11, 1859, and other things they LIE about. (Do you get the idea I get tired of the bullies LYING, too?) On the other hand, on this issue, when the Mormons were told by the MAJORITY what marriage would be about, they went along. (You hear about cults that LEFT the Mormon church, but not current members.)

Now there's people who want to BULLY the Mormons for supporting a form of marriage that the Mormons didn't want but have complied with? I don't think so, no no no, I doooooooon't think so. I'll remind that our very government launched a cruise missle into Iraq before the invasion NOT to hit a military target but to blow up a bunch of harmless civilians and make the people afraid. (A 3 year old lost his arms, legs, and every known relative.) And during the invasion our same government launched a cruise missle into Saudi Arabian civilians to put the same message to them. (Of course PUBLICLY it was an accident. . . .) Do you really think it'll be safe for the bullies to riot in the streets and mail white powder for very long? California Obama voters largely supported Proposition 8, and when the National Guard is brought home from Irag, well, the British call it 'The Riot act,' in Texas they call it 'One riot, one Ranger.' It's just a theory on my part, but I can believe the majority in this country are at this time ready to support the chasing of the bullies back under their rock. Sick and tired of being menaced, etc. (I'm big on forecasting human behavior, and I see finger pointing in America's immediate future. The majority of Americans really do follow their president.)

If you want a drivers license, you drive the speed limit, on the right hand side of the road, and you stop at stop signs. If you don't, you lose your license. It's not a right, you don't get to pick and choose. You want to practice a religion, you follow its' tenets. (That's why they call it FAITH, you BELIEVE you're not supposed to lie/cheat/steal, etc., no matter how much you WANT To.) If it says you're NOT gay but you insist on being; you're not faithful, you're out. (Double entendre.) It's not a right, you don't get to pick and choose. And if a society sets up something it calls a 'Marriage' and has reasons it makes it between a man and a woman, it's not a right, so you don't get to pick and choose. And you DON'T get to terrorize the majority. (You get the last laugh when they go through divorce.)

So in case I'm not getting the point across to you, all I'm seeing in out this outrage is that a minority is trying to force themselves on the majority in an INAPPROPRIATE way. The only thing they're upset about is they're not getting away with it. Cry me a river.

It's like the story of 'The Little Red hen.' You don't want to BAKE any of the bread, you don't GET any of the bread. (I am well known for going in the kitchen to help cook even during football in racing, I'm that big a believe in eating.) You don't want to drive the way you're supposed to, you don't get a license. (Even racing on a track requires a license and following the rules.) You don't want to have faith in the religion, you don't get to go to the church. (Do you REALLY want to put money in their collection basket?) Marriage is the same, so stop complaining.

January 20, 2001, I thought I had a right to see the majority choice Al Gore become president, but I didn't bother rioting in the streets about it. (Millions have died.) 4 years later, well, it would have BEEN right to see John Kerry become president, but the majority said no. (The economy could have been saved.) In 2008, I thought I had a right to see the majority choice Hillary Clinton on the ballot. Again, I didn't riot in the streets. (Insert future suffering here.) I didn't give the Democratic party any money, either, and definitely wasn't in the majority on THAT. . .

If these bullies have so much time on their hands, why don't they pick on their own kind and riot over the failure to prosecute Dubya? (He'll never be brought to justice, but it's fun to dream.) Do something the majority is IN FAVOR OF for a change. (Being told to put your effort into something less fun but more important. Meet the new change, same as the old change.)

Oh, and I remember Mark as a guy who could be disagreed with to his very core and stay calm, and some recollection of some real arguments he had going with a few people without him losing it. Wonder if that's still true: OR if he too is rolling his eyes at the Proposition 8 thing.

Onanite said...

Doug, good points but I disagree with you on the majority ruling the roost.