Category Archives: Marriage Equality

Assemblymember John Laird on Reforming Term Limits

Disclosure: I’m quite proud to do some work for Yes on 93. Also in orange.

Last week, I sat down with Assemblymember John Laird of Santa Cruz/Monterey, to talk about Prop 93, the environment, and civil rights.  I’ll be editing up more of the video where we talk about these issues in more detail. However, I wanted to share this video first.

John Laird has a long history of fighting as both a progressive activist and now in the Assembly. He’s worked extensively on promoting a sustainable economy, and has spent much of his time in the Assembly by going through each of California’s non-discrimination laws to ensure that the rights of all Californians are honored. And given his experience as Assembly budget chair, few have the breadth or depth of knowledge about the priorities of the California government. After all, as he told me, the budget is the one document that represents all of our priorities, our hopes, and our dreams for the state. Flip it for more.

So, why does he think that Prop 93 is important? Well, I’m pretty sure he says it better than I ever could, so I’ll summarize it with this sentence. “The outcome depends on … long-term fights to take the knowledge we’ve learned and the relationships we’ve made to accomplish these goals.” See, beyond the personality conflicts of yesterday, today, or tomorrow, we still have the goal of accomplishing progressive action. Yet, as they say, Rome was not built in a day. And it certainly wasn’t built why Romulus was looking for a new gig in Sicily.

Take, for example, Assemblyman Laird’s efforts to resolve the civil rights bills in California code that I discussed above. Each bill requires a conversation here, a little shove there; in the end, it’s a lot of time. And if each legislator has got their eye on their next position up, down, or anywhere around in public service. Don’t get me wrong, I laud their dedication to public service. I simply suggest that we are best served when we have experienced legislators that are focused on accomplishments rather than the next rung.

So, check out Prop 93, and ask questions.  I’ll be around here for a little while or I’m always available at brian AT calitics DOT com. It’s a complicated measure, but it’s one that will help put California in a better position for the future.

LGBT folks are ALMOST equal

WooHoo! We are almost as good as everybody else. I suppose the key word there is almost.  Equality California released their annual scorecard, and a record number of legislators scored a 100 by voting for civil rights.  In fact, 61 of of the 120 legislators scored a 100, all Democrats of course.

You can see the full scorecard here (PDF), but interestingly there were only 4 0s in the Senate, and 8 0s in the Assembly.  A lot of that can be attributed to the seeming lack of controversy surround Sen. Carole Migden’s SB 105, which allows “Simplifies the process of filing joint state income tax returns for registered domestic partners. Creates a worksheet California registered domestic partners will use to file jointly beginning with the 2007 tax year. ” IN other words, it’s a tax clean-up measure for a right (filing joint taxes) that was bestowed already.

Also getting many pro-LGBT votes was AJR 29, which  encourages the federal government to pass hate crimes legislation, specifically the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  I’m guessing that has to do with Republicans being ToughOnCrimeTM or something like that.

And the Governor, well he got an 88. It seems he mistakenly vetoed Marriage Equality, because I couldn’t possibly imagine our liberal, well-intentioned governor ever thinking that we don’t all deserve the freedom to marry the one we love.  Oh, right…he wants the “voters to decide”. Nice cop out, Arnold.  

SF Chamber of Commerce joins pro-marriage equality amicus brief

It’s not often that I get to praise any Chamber of Commerce. Sure, occasionally the LA and SF locals do something right, but it’s not an everday occurence. I mean, usually I’m blasting them for their ridiculous “Job Killer List.”  But, as I’m a believer in reinforcing positive action, I’ll point out the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s good deed.  Yesterday, they signed on to Levi Strauss’ amicus brief in favor of marriage equality for the pending CA Supreme Court case:

Support of marriage rights for gays and lesbians is “consistent with our organization’s advocacy of policies that are inclusive and contribute to business’ ability to attract and retain a diverse, talented workforce,” Steve Falk, the chamber’s chief executive, said in a statement this week. (SF Chron 11.24.2007)

There always has been a strong case for marriage equality from both the left and the right. Andrew Sullivan has made a pretty nice living, in fact, selling the conservative argument for marriage.  Of course, the SF Chamber has always been something of an outlier on social issues, and it’s not clear that this really has anything to do with the “conservative argument” for marriage. But, props to the SF Chamber and Levi Strauss for saying what needs to be said.

All written arguments have now been filed in the case, but a hearing date has not been scheduled.

Message to George Bush & Arnold: Where is the National Guard?

(I’m going to promote this because it’s starting to get a good deal of attention. Half of the equipement needed by the Naitonal Guard to aid in recovery and assistance is not in the state, and we’ve known about this for months. Sen. Boxer raised this concern yesterday. It’s hampering efforts and I think it’s worthy for consideration. – promoted by David Dayen)

Dear George W Bush & Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger:

Where is the National Guard?  Why is not the National Guard involved in protecting the people of Southern California, San Diego County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Ventura County, and Los Angeles County from the fire storms?

Might they be in Afghanistan?
Might they be in Iraq?
Might they be on the border of California & Mexico?

Is it not the job of the President and of the Governor to insure the safety and security of persons and property in the State rather than in an ill-conceived overseas venture?  Just a thought.

California Psychological Assoc Signs on the Amer Psych Assoc Amicus Brief Re Marriage Equality

(Edited for space only. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

California Psychological Association (CPA) Signs on as Amicus to American Psychological Association’s Brief to CA Supreme Court Re Gay Marriage.

As you know, the issue of Marriage Equality has been simmering below the radar for quite some time since Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco, first recognized Marriage Equality for same-sex couples.  Newsom gained international attention in February 2004, when he directed the city-county clerk to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.  Newsom claimed the California Constitution’s equal protection clause as his authority.  From February 12, 2004, until March 11, 2004, when Marriage Equality was halted by the California Supreme Court, about 4,000 couples were issued marriage licenses under Newsom’s directive in San Francisco.  On August 12, 2004, the California Supreme Court voided all of 4,000 licenses.

More below the flip…

Since then, courts in Massachusetts and New Jersey have ruled that Marriage Equality must be recognized.  The legislature of Massachusetts passed legislation for Marriage Equality.  More recently, the courts in New Jersey have ruled that the State must accommodate Marriage Equality.

In California, the people, through their duly elected officials in both legislative chambers have attempted to recognize Marriage Equality in 2005 and once again in 2007.  Both times, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Marriage Equality Terminator, vetoed the legislation.  He has indicated that the issue should be a matter for the courts and the voters of California to decide.  Schwarzenegger has obviously ignored the fact that the voters of California have spoken in 2005 and again in 2007 in favor of Marriage Equality through their legislators.  It so happens that the California Supreme Court may make a decision on Marriage Equality.  The Court will hear oral argumentss in a case for Marriage Equality in which fifteen (15) same-sex couples will be represented by the the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal.

Now, Miguel E. Gallardo, PsyD, President, wrote the following to the members of the CPA:

“Dear Members:

“I hope this message finds you all well and in good health. I am writing to inform you that, as an association, the CPA signed on to an Amicus Brief recently filed by the American Psychological Association with the California Supreme Court. Additionally, this email is intended to provide you with some background information and inform you of the process used by the Executive Committee (comprised of the CPA’s elected officers) and the Board of Directors in determining the appropriate action for CPA.


“In July 2007 the Public Interest Directorate of APA requested that CPA sign on to an Amicus Brief that the APA planned to file with the California Supreme Court. An Amicus Curiae Brief (literally, “friend of the court”) is a brief that is filed with the court by someone who is not a party to the case, but who has an interest in the case and believes that the court’s decision may affect its interest.  Amicus Briefs often include educative information and resources that may be useful to the Court.

Re full disclosure, BlueBeaumontBoyz is a member of the American Psychological Association.

Gallardo’s message continues:

The Issue

“The current case stems from the original action of the San Francisco Mayor to allow marriage between gay and lesbian couples.  This case comes to the California Supreme Court from the California First Appellate District Court (Division Three), which reversed an earlier trial court decision, and upheld the constitutional California’s Family Code, that defines civil marriage as the union between a man and a woman.  The California Supreme Court must decide whether to uphold the Appellate Court decision or to overturn it and find the current definition of marriage unconstitutional (as did the earlier trial court).  A decision to overturn the Appellate Court’s decision would, in essence, enable gay and lesbian couples to be married in the state of California. 

APA has filed similar Briefs in other states, including in Maryland where the Supreme Court recently rejected the Brief, but APA believes that the California case is probably the most important case to date on this matter and that this case will have a very large impact on the rest of the country. In addition to CPA, APA was joined in this Brief by the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association of Social Workers.

The Decision Making Process

“The Executive Committee of the CPA Board of Directors based its actions on our newly adopted guidelines from the Social Issues Task Force which stipulate that the Executive Committee, after considering any issue, will determine how to involve the full Board of Directors. In this particular circumstance, the Executive Committee involved the CPA Board of Directors as early as was feasible in the review process. The Executive Committee ultimately reviewed all the relevant documents provided by APA, as well as other materials provided by various Board members and other interested individuals in this case. The final meeting of Executive Committee occurred on September 10th when a final decision was made to support the Brief. It was during this meeting, and several others, that the members of the Executive Committee reviewed the comments gathered from the Board of Directors comments, concerns, and suggested actions to change the language in the Brief. Based on the final meeting on the 10th, and the Executive Committee’s review of the comments from the Board of Directors, and by a majority vote, the CPA Executive Committee agreed that CPA join the Brief as an Amicus. 

“In essence, we followed what we believed to be the appropriate mechanisms to make an informed decision on behalf of the CPA and its members.

“This decision was forwarded to Dr. Clinton Anderson in the APA Public Interest Directorate.  Dr. Anderson and other members of the APA expressed their appreciation for CPA’s position on this issue.  A copy of the Amicus Brief that was filed with the California Supreme Court is attached for your information and review.

“We hope you find the information contained in this email and in the attached document helpful in understanding the significance in maintaining a level of integrity in our decision making process, as well as, ultimately deciding what final action to take on behalf of the Association, its members, and the communities in California that we serve.

“I appreciate your membership in the Association and I look forward to continuing to serve you in the future.

Best regards,

Miguel E. Gallardo, PsyD

President, CPA

The full brief may be viewed at [http://www.cpapsych….]

Let California Ring

(It’s quite a powerful ad. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

Equality California has launched a huge ad campaign to educate the public on Marriage Equality (great 60 second ad after the flip):

  • Let California Ring facebook group
  • An above the fold story in today’s San Francisco Chronicle noted:

    “This campaign is about changing the climate in California around this issue,” Seth Kilbourn, Equality California’s political and policy director, said as he sat in his upper Market Street office.

    He cites polls showing Californians almost evenly split on the issue. A 2000 poll by the Policy Institute of California found that voters opposed same-sex marriage 55 to 38 percent; a poll by the same group last year showed a major shift: 48 to 46 percent.

    This campaign is intended to move the state “over the tipping point,” Kilbourn said. “We wanted to connect to the people of California on an emotional level, on a level they can identify with.”

    This powerful ad is going up Thursday and has substantial resources:

    The Ring drive – which has received $400,000 from Jim Hormel, the San Francisco philanthropist and former U.S ambassador to Luxembourg; a $500,000 commitment from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund; and $500,000 from an anonymous donor – “is gently challenging the people of California to imagine what it would be like if they couldn’t get married to the person they loved.”

    Legal rights and benefits, many of which are covered by domestic partner laws here and in other states, are important, Kilbourn added, but this campaign aims at the heart.

    “It’s putting the people we’re trying to talk to, the undecided people, into our shoes. We gave them something they can identify with, a wedding. The ad firm really felt that if you’re going to try to connect with a certain group of people, you need to talk about them, not yourself.”

    Please Go Sign the Pledge!

    Assembly Approves Marriage Equality (Again)

    (Now with video. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)


    But anyways, as I was starting to feel happy that the Assembly approved legislation that would allow me to find the hubby of my dreams, Chuckie just had to piss me off by saying this. Whatever. All I say to him, and to others who oppose equal rights for all, is that allowing all loving couples to make lasting commitments for life strengthens marriage. Discrimination doesn’t.

    Families worrying about what to eat weakens families, and marriages at that. Families worrying about where to live weakens families, and marriages at that. Families worrying about health care weakens families, and marriages at that. If Chuckie DeVore really cares about families and marriages, then maybe he should do something about what families are actually worried about.

    But enough of Chuckie, let’s get back to the good news of today! Fortunately, most Assembly Members don’t share the same distorted views as Chuckie. They recognize that the institution of marriage is only strengthened when the state does not discriminate over which loving couples can get married and which ones can’t. Thank goodness they did the right thing today. : )

    Leno’s Remarks on His Marriage Equality Bill

    Below the fold is a clip of Leno’s testimony in support of AB 43.  Unfortunately, the quality is quite poor, but you can get the gist of it.

    The bill passed 7 to 3 out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee today and will move on to the Assembly floor.  The bill is already co-sponsored by 29 members of the Assembly and 14 Senators, including Perata and Nunez.  It is identical to the legislation Arnold vetoed last year and he has pledged to strike it down again. 

    The court cases continue to proceed, with briefs turned into the State Supreme court last week.

    Unprincipled Arnold

    Cross-posted on Daily Kos

    Arnold is attempting to raise his national profile by offering himself up as the perfect politician: principled, and interested in governing, not focusing on partisanship.  It is complete and utter bullcrap.

    Out here in California, we refer to our governor by software version numbers to describe his drastic ideological shifts.  There was Arnold 1.0, during his heralded first year.  Version 2.0 was a right wing nut job, running around telling nurses he was kicking their butts and calling lawmakers “girly men”.  We are currently experiencing v. 3.0, a “post-partisan” deal-maker who insults people behind closed doors instead of at women’s conferences.

    The singular best attack line on Arnold last year during his re-election campaign went right to his consistency.  What are Arnold’s core values?  It was something I spent a lot of time blogging about, was the focus of the Alliance for a Better California ads (my former employer) and was confirmed by Arnold’s consultants as the most effective, after the election.  The answer is that he has none.

    Like a good Republican he has a nice slogan: “fiscal conservative, social moderate and environmental progressive.”  None of them really add up.

    The best way to talk about Arnold’s lack of fiscal restraint is to discuss his budgetary approach.  California has a structural budget deficit  We take in less each year than is allocated to be spent.  Arnold has never directly addressed this problem.  He has a hope and pray approach.  He believes that the economy will magically grow enough to cover the deficit.  Thus far we have seen a decent enough recovery that it has worked, but just barely.

    Every year he proposes a budget that is at least supposed to be balanced, but it never really is when you dig deep down.  He always includes spending cuts to programs that Democrats find intolerable, knowing that they will restore the spending.  This year, the cuts to welfare grants for children because of their parent’s unemployment became an immediate lightning rod.  Democrats quickly vowed to put the funding back in.  His second tactic is to overestimate the revenue.  The independent legislative analyst comes in and puts forth some more realistic projection of income to the state’s coffers.  Then the legislature has to clean up the mess.  No part of this process is principled.

    Can you name one issue where Arnold has governed like a social moderate?  Take the two biggest issues to come up in recent years: parental notification and marriage equality.  Arnold supported the conservative position in both.  He endorsed Prop. 73 and he vetoed marriage equality legislation.  Those are not the actions of a social moderate.  A majority of Californians support gay marriage.  Now that the parental notification has gone down twice in a row, the majority of Californians clearly do not support it either.  Arnold talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk.

    As for environmentalism, one only needs to look at his actions after the passage of the landmark AB 32.  He immediately attempted to gut the bill.  Just this past week he accused Sen. Perata of trying to do the same thing, when he was only putting forward a second piece of legislation that all sides had agreed would probably be necessary.  Arnold’s pattern of attempts to weaken AB 32 is long and well documented.  He of course basked in the limelight when it passed and is now attacking those who dare expose his hypocrisy.

    All of which brings me to his speech today at the National Press Club.  It is his second high profile national address, the first of which was at the RNC in 2004.  He will get plenty of coverage in the papers tomorrow and in the days to come.  In it he said:

    The left and the right don’t have a monopoly on conscience.  We should not let them get away with that.  You can be centrist and be principled.  You can seek a consensus and retain your convictions.  What is more principled than giving up some part of your position to advance the greater good of the people?  That is how we arrived at a constitution in this country.  Our Founding Fathers would still be meeting at the Holiday Inn in Philadelphia if they hadn’t compromised.  Why can’t our political leaders today?

    Some people say, “Arnold, haven’t you sold out and become an independent?”  No, I am still a proud Republican and I support the guiding principles of the Republican party – lower taxes, a strong defense, free markets and a belief in the power of the individual.  Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, you don’t have to give up your principles.

    But isn’t the ultimate principle to represent the people?  We’re elected as public servants, not party servants. When I talk about working together and centrism and post-partisanship, some people dismiss it saying, “Yea, yea, that’s just some lightweight, idealistic idea Schwarzenegger has.”  Yes, Schwarzenegger-and Edmund Burke and John Kennedy and others.

    I am not opposed to compromise, in fact it is crucial to good governing.  However, I reject the notion that Arnold is the beacon of all of this Unity08, post-partisan, moderate, third-way talk.  That is all it is, talk.  Unless you back up that talk with action, it isn’t worth the paper it is printed on.  Arnold says one thing and does another.  It is his legacy.  I don’t trust him any further than I can throw him.  He will always come back to contradict himself in the end.  He will continue to believe that he had a bunch of “good ideas” in 2005.  He will keep calling people names behind closed doors, only, he just won’t tape it.  Arnold v. 4.0 and 5.0 is just around the corner and don’t you forget it.

    Yolo County Clerk Freddie Oakley Stands Up for Marriage Equality

    (Many county clerks are standing up for equality today, here is Wu Ming’s story from Yolo County. – promoted by blogswarm)

    As readers of surf putah may have noticed, I’m a big fan of Yolo County Clerk, Freddie Oakley. She has a very accessible elections site, has been vigilant in avoiding election-day glitches of the sort that bollox up voting in bigger and wealthier counties with great regularity. How many other county clerks even know about the problems with Diebold’s buggy and easily hackable voting machines, let alone have written op eds as cogent as this one about the need for verified voting? And while I disagreed with her decision to cancel early voting stations on UCD campus last election, I will give her credit for starting the early voting up in the first place.

    But in addition to her work to protect the vote in Yolo County, Freddie Oakley will stand up for marriage equality this Valentine’s Day as well (Also covered in the Enterprise, as well as the Davis Vanguard. The Chronicle has a related story up about other Northern Californian County Clerks supporting marriage equality, albeit not in such a creative manner). Instead of just turning away same-sex couples who come every Valentine’s Day to protest their unequal treatment under California and federal marriage law, Oakley made up her own “Certificate of Inequality” to pass out in solidarity, made with her own money and passed out on her lunch break.

    Oakley’s certificate will read:

    “Whereas: The state of California arrogates the right to limit your freedom to marry based on the gender of your chosen spouse, and

    “Whereas: Based on your choice of spouse I may NOT issue a license to marry to you, and

    “Whereas: I am unable to divine any legitimate governmental purpose in the regulation of your marriage partner’s gender,

    “Now, therefore: I issue this Certificate of Inequality to you because your choice of marriage partner displeases some people whose displeasure is, apparently, more important that principles of equality.

    “Issued to: (a name here) and signed, this day, February 14, 2007

    Freddie Oakley, Yolo County Clerk-Recorder.”

    An evangelical Christian who strongly supports the separation of church and state – “[…] I’m not happy about enforcing a law that is discriminatory and based on religious principles,” […] “Religion has no place in government.” – Oakley confuses the standard media narrative that places religious folks on one side and those who support a religiously neutral secular state on the other. In reality, this is not solely an issue of religious versus secular values, but also a question of whether the state will enforce one side in a sectarian dispute; to wit, whether the state will tell Unitarians, Quakers and Congregationalists that the same sex couples that they marry are not married unless the Southern Baptists and Fundamentalists agree to it. Additionally, these laws conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause, which guarantees all citizens the same rights under law. As Rich Rifkin points out in the comments after the Davis Vanguard article, it is illegal to deny business licenses to a gay or lesbian owner because of their sexual orientation; how then can it be legally defensible to deny them the legal right to marry other consenting adults?

    While the stunt is witty, the issue is anything but trivial. This country has made grave errors in the past by trying to write popularly-held prejudice into marriage law, in a perverse effort to “defend traditional marriage.” California had miscegenation laws until a California Supreme Court decision reversed them in Perez v. Sharp in 1948, and it took Loving v. Virginia in 1967 before the “traditional definition of marriage” was rightly thrown out as an embarassing relic of a hateful past at the national level. The current political momentum appears to be repeating history, as California’s Assembly and State Senate were once again the first state legislature to challenge a prejudicial status quo (although supposedly “moderate” Governor Schwarzeneggar vetoed the bill, on the bizarre rationale that the legislature is not democratic, and that only the people can pass such laws, via initiative).

    As a straight, married citizen, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, it does me no injury for my neighbor to marry whom they love. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. My marriage was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and it has filled my life with joy; how could I ever deny that joy to someone else?

    Good for Freddie Oakley, and may everyone have a great Valentine’s Day.