Saturday, May 14, 2011

Prop 8.. oh you mean Prop H8

Not sure how many of you are following prop 8 right now. You may not be in California, you might be else where. I used this blog for other things, but decided to take down the postings, one because they were old which completely contradicts the name of the blog itself, and two because the only thing I won't stop, can't stop doing is keeping up on what's going on with Prop 8. Reading articles pertaining to both sides of the story and I have to say some piss me off both ways. Right now I'm going to catch you up to speed.

Back in mid-late 2010 Kris Perry and Sandy Stier challenged prop 8 in District court before Judge Vaughn Walker. His ruling was this:

" Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. "

He did however allow a stay for Prop 8 to be appealed, in which of course it was. This sent the case "Perry vs. Schwarzenegger" (as it was classified as then) to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (or Appellate Court)... You keeping up? Good, moving along.

The opening arguments were shown broadcasted live in a two hour part which you may find here if you would like to see it here:

Before this case even got to the 9th Circuit Court, proponents (who have already lost the first battle) asked Judge Stephen Reinhardt to recuse himself, which he refused, based on the fact that his wife is the Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California for the last 38 years. When denying to recuse himself he said his objections were due to “outmoded conception of the relationship between spouses.” As well as making note that he has been a 9th Circuit Judge since 1980. He also said, “My wife and I share many fundamental interests by virtue of our marriage, but her views regarding issues of public significance are her own, and cannot be imputed to me, no matter how prominently she expresses them.” He then went on to speak about the differences in opinions that are commonly held in marriages especially, the fact that his wife's opinion does not dictate his own.
(One battle down.)

Now after these opening arguments have taken place the battle takes off. As you will see in the video posted above (you might want to move to the second hour where the arguments really begin) that the proponents of Prop 8 have really no argument. One moment it seems like they are arguing to protect marriage from divorce, and in another instance they are arguing that marriage is for procreation only, which backfires when it is brought to their attention that there are heterosexual marriages out there that are physically unable to produce children.

When a "law" or "measure" is challenged, its automatically referred to as case vs. Governor. Meaning the one to defend the case should have been either Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (at the time) or his Attorney General, Jerry Brown. Both, at the time, Gov. Schwarzenegger and A.G. Brown refused to defend Prop 8. This left a vital question in the appeal. Are the supporters of Prop 8, those who put the measure on the ballot back in 2008, even allowed to appeal Judge Vaughn Walkers ruling? We'll get to that a little later. Continuing on...

Since the beginning of the case, as you may know, we held elections and have a new Governor and Attorney General. Gov. Jerry Brown (haha, promotion), and Attorney General Kamala Harris. So because we switched out Governors the case name becomes Perry vs. Brown. However, I personally think, it would be more fun if it were... ready for this? Perry vs. Jerry... but that's besides the point and a lame joke.

Behind the scenes after the initial arguments before the 9th Circuit Judges. Proponents of prop 8 stretched as far as they could to find anything in their favor, each time losing a little more and making themselves look like an even bigger bunch of assholes. When they are asked how anyone would ACTUALLY BE HARMED, their response, "I Don't Know."

District Judge Vaughn Walker retired after that case. Later to come out as an openly gay man in a relationship with his partner of 11 years, a doctor I believe. Thus, causing the proponents of Prop 8 (Protect Marriage Act for those not following yet) to call his ruling bias because he himself is gay and overturning Prop 8 would allow him to finally marry his partner. Too bad it was legal back before 2008's Prop 8 initiative made it illegal. He could have done it then.

This would be the same as not allowing a black judge to rule over a human rights case, or a woman judge over a women's rights case. Besides if a hetero judge in a hetero "legal" marriage ruled in favor of Prop 8 instead of Judge Vaughn Walker, wouldn't that be just as bias? Moving forward...

So 9th Circuit came to the conclusion they weren't even sure if Proponents not being the Gov., or A.G., were even allowed to appeal. So they send that part of the case over to the California Supreme Court, which hearing will be coming up later this year (2011). A.G. Kamala Harris, the first to make a proactive move in helping the opponents of Prop 8 (Perry and Stier), submitted an amicus brief recently stating in it:

“California law affords an initiative’s proponents no right to defend the validity of a successful initiative measure based only on their role in launching an initiative process,”

“would rob the electors of power by taking the executive power from elected officials and placing it instead in the hands of a few highly motivated but politically unaccountable individuals.”

In this she was saying, that the proponents for Prop 8 have no right to appeal. That she and the Governor have refused to defend the Prop and by allowing the proponents to defend it would compromise the constitutional responsibilities delegated to the Governer and herself. You can visit her site here and see what she has to say. It may take a little digging, but I am directing you to her general site alone, because if you live in California its vital to know what's going on all together, not just specific subjects.

A Bill was recently submitted to a Senate panel May 3, 2011 that would give initiative proponents legal standing to defend voter approved ballot measures against legal challenges, (the main concern of the 9th Circuit and the reason for them forwarding to the Supreme Court Also, the reason A.G. Kamala Harris submitted her amicus brief, over the Prop 8 issue, or Perry vs. Brown case) but the bill was rejected by a 3-2 vote.
(Another loss for proponents of Prop 8)

Finally the proponents come down to the point that District Judge Vaughn Walkers ruling should be vacated due to his ruling being bias, which it was not. They also attacked Judge Vaughn Walker for a tape showing of the original District court hearing in which Judge Vaughn Walker ruled Prop 8 as unconstitutional. This tape argument I want to break down for you a little bit just to show you a little more of the 'asshole' tendencies of Prop 8 proponents...

Prop 8 proponents asked that the court hearings in which Prop 8 was ruled against would not be publicly broadcasted. Judge Vaughn Walker agreed to not broadcasting it live, but also state that he would allow it to be taped. Judge Vaughn Walker after retiring was giving a lecture at which time he showed a five or six minute clip of the case. When Prop 8 proponents found out they argued that he should surrender any and all copies because of his decision not to broadcast it and that he shouldn't have shown ANYONE the tapes. Now here's the thing, it was ruled a while back that any all court recordings were to be viewable by the public at any time to keep faith in the Judicial System as well as following and not infringing the 1st Amendment Constitutional Rights.
(Yet another...)

As I said before, the proponents for Prop 8 have been reaching and reaching for any and all angles they can. In the process have made them look more desperate and pathetic. A group of people with a specific interest pertaining to that group and group alone should not have the power to strip or hinder the rights of another group. If the Supreme Court rules they are not allowed to appeal the Prop 8 ruling as unconstitutional, the appeal will be dismissed and the LGBT community will be free to marry as they please. *Fingers Crossed*

As for protecting Marriage lets look at some actual facts of Marriage today as it is now...

  • Nearly 70% of all married men and 60% of all married women have had affairs. That's two out of every three marriages.
  • Every 10-13 seconds a couple divorces.
  • More than 90% of divorces involve infidelity

So what are they protecting? The right to enter a union and break that union at free will? Visit NationMaster to see the divorce rates from country to country. Remember how many billion people are in the world, if you do the math you might shit yourself.

If you want to follow prop 8 and its trials please subscribe to my blog. I will also be touching on other subjects as well, not all political but stuff I find might be at anyone's interest.

Thanks - Jon Scott

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