California Attorney General Jerry Brown, who supports same-sex marriage, had appeared to be legally obligated to defend the Prop 8 ban on such marriages in an appeal. Such a defense would appear to be his constitutional duty; attorneys general defend laws. And Brown had said he would do just that.
But, just before the deadline for the attorney general to file arguments with the state supreme court, Brown did something different. His office's brief doesn't defend Prop 8. It says it should be overturned, and offers a novel legal theory for how the court might do that. The LA Times has a story here. In it, Goodwin Liu, associate dean and professor of law at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, calls Brown's action "extraordinary" and says: "The chief law enforcement officer of the state is charged with enforcing laws, even laws with which he disagrees."
Many same-sex marriage advocates in California are furious at President-Elect Obama for giving the Rev. Rick Warren, who was a strong advocate of the Prop 8 ban on gay marriages, a role in his inauguration. One prominent member of the No on Prop 8 campaign team has declined his invitation to attend the inauguration ceremony as a result.
Marjorie Christoffersen, the manager of El Coyote, a Mexican restaurant on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles, has resigned, according to Frontiers magazine. Christoffersen made a $100 donation to the Yes on Prop 8 campaign. After the ban on same-sex marriage passed, protestors who favor same-sex marriage called for a boycott of the restaurant and demonstrated outside. Christoffersen is a Mormon, and her church had urged her to give.
Via Will Ferrell's "Funny or Die" site. With Jack Black as Jesus and various familiar faces from stage and screen.
The conservative Weekly Standard takes a look at Prop 107, the 2006 Arizona initiative that failed to ban same-sex marriage, and Prop 102, the 2008 Arizona ban that passed. What was the difference? The 2006 ban would have barred domestic partnerships. The 2008 initiative protected domestic partnerships. Also, the Standard quotes a leader of the no campaign as saying that fundraising was weak because California's No on Prop 8 campaign soaked up so much money. If that's true, it means the disastrous No on 8 campaign in California was responsible not only for the setback for marriage equality in California but also for the defeat in Arizona.
Rich Raddon, a devout Mormon who leads the L.A. Film Festival, resigns under fierce criticism for his financial donations to Yes on Prop 8. Same-sex marriage supporters -- that is opponents of the recently passed Prop 8 -- are targeting leaders of arts groups and companies who gave to the other side. In most cases, the support for Prop 8 was based on religious beliefs.
This is madness, and is all but certain to boomerang against the cause of marriage equality. How can you call for tolerance of difference, and convince people that same-sex marraige is no threat to anyone's religion, when you're hounding people for their religious views? Here's hoping that the festival urges Raddon to come back, immediately. And here's also a bit of a mathematical reminder to the self-sabotaging same-sex marriage supporters behind these purges: elections are won by convincing people to join your cause. All your energies should be directed to making new friends, not identifying enemies.
The Advocate deconstructs the failed No on 8 campaign to defeat the California initiative ban on same-sex marriage -- and points some fingers. In particular, the Advocate blames the leaders of bisexual, gay and lesbian groups that led the campaign committee. This squares with my own reporting on the subject. These activists didn't reach out and bring in top political folks until it was too late. The Advocate adds fuel to the fire by reporting that two of these leaders -- Lorri Jean of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center and Geoff Kors of Equality California -- took long summer vacations. People running big campaigns typically wait until the election is over to do that sort of thing.
I live in Los Angeles' Miracle Mile, a short walk from the city of West Hollywood, which is both a mecca and haven for gays. I've been to my local movie theater twice since the passage of Prop 8, the California initiative to ban same-sex marriage. Each time, the feature came with a preview of the new Sean Penn movie, 'Milk,' about the life of the openly gay San Francisco County Supervisor Harvey Milk, who, along with Mayor George Moscone, was killed by fellow supervisor Dan White in 1978. And each time, after the "Milk" preview, the theater erupted in loud applause and a few shouted derogatory references to Prop 8.
The New York Times reported this weekend that supporters of same-sex marriage intend to use the December opening of "Milk" in their efforts to repeal Prop 8. That's a good idea--organizing needs to be done, so why not piggyback on the millions of marketing for a movie? But the Times treats this connection between a movie and direct democracy as news. It isn't.
This San Francisco Chronicle story does a very good job explaining why it's unlikely that Prop 8 will be overturned by the California Supreme Court. The key question is whether the initiative is an amendment to the constitution, which is permitted by initiative, or is actually a revision because the court ruled in May that there is an inherent constitutional right to marriage that applies to gay and straight couples alike. Traditionally, the court has been reluctant to declare an initiative invalid because it's a "revision." The Chronicle points out this has only been done twice, and neither case would seem to apply easily to the case of Prop 8.
No surprise, but the California Supreme Court today agreed to consider whether Prop 8 is constitutional. Both sides had sought a quick move by the court, and it looks like they're going to get it. More details here.
Other Prop 8 news: In a very interesting interview with the Sacramento Bee, California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, who is African-American, said that the post-Prop 8 debate has been "racialized" (because of exit polls showing widespread black support for the Prop 8 ban on same sex marriage) and described how friends of her who attended anti-Prop 8 protests had racial epithets hurled at them.