The owner of San Diego's Manchester Grand Hyatt gave $125,000 to the California initiative to ban same-sex marriage. Now gay rights' groups and other opponents of the November initiative are urging a boycott of the hotel. There's more to the story. Unite Here's San Diego local is pushing the boycott as part of its effort to unionize hotel workers. And Hyatt itself has a reputation as a gay-friendly chain. Sounds like we'll be hearing more about this.
If you've been reading this blog, you've noticed mentions of and posts by Kevin Norte, the thoughtful attorney who is active in the Log Cabin Republicans and who advanced the legal theory behind the effort to get the anti-gay marriage initiative in California removed from the ballot. (The theory is that, because of the state supreme court decision legalizing same sex marriage, the initiative is no longer a constitutional amendment but a constitutional revision that can't be done by initiative).
Now the LA Times looks at the origins of the argument and talks about Norte. It's here.
The Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles is a great place. But some folks want to boycott it, believing in error that the theater is named for Howard Ahmanson Jr., a big financial backer of the initiative seeking to ban same sex marriage in California. As this story points out, the theater is named after the donor's father, Howard Sr.
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, says she thinks marriage is man-woman but that the ballot measure, which -- like its counterpart in California -- would add a same-sex marriage ban to the state constitution, is unnecessary.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown, a likely candidate for governor in 2010, has indicated support for the legalization of same-sex marriage. But a recent lawsuit by supporters of gay marriage seeks to knock the initiative that would ban such marriages off the November ballot. One argument of the lawsuit is that the official title and summary Brown's office gave the measure is wrong, because of the Supreme Court decision legalizing such marriages.
The original title and summary said the initiative would not change state law and would not have any fiscal impact because the way marriages are conducted would not be altered; after the court decision legalized same sex marriage, that was no longer true.
But that title and summary were written months before the court decision. In an amicus brief filed with the court, the attorney general's office defends itself along these lines and argues that an initiative cannot be thrown off the ballot because a subsequent court decision changes its meaning.
The LA Times' Maura Dolan explains some of this here.
And the brief is attached here. (Hat tip Kevin Norte.)
Barack Obama, in a letter to the Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, strongly opposed the California ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage. It's a risky move. He will likely face criticism that by opposing the initiative in a state that has legalized same sex marriage, he's supporting gay marriage. (Officially, he has said marriage is between a man and a woman). There's also a church angle to this. Obama's longtime denomination, the United Church of Christ (it's also my family's church), has endorsed same-sex marriage and ordained gay pastors.
In the final hours of its session, the Arizona legislature voted to put a measure on the November ballot that would ban gay marriage. Californians will vote on a similar initiative. The Arizona's measures prospects are considered poor, however; the state already voted down a measure that would have banned gay marriage two years ago. (That measure was harsher, though--it would have banned the state and local governments from offering domestic partnership benefits).
Here's the filing. Last Friday, gay marriage supporters asked the California Supreme Court to take the initiative that would ban gay marriage off the November ballot. The argument is similar to one featured on this blog and advanced by Kevin Norte, a board member of the California PAC of the Log Cabin Republicans. The claim is that the initiative does not properly change the California constitution. This is a technical argument. And despite the supreme court's 4-3 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage last month, the court is unlikely to throw this off the ballot, legal scholars say.
So many clerks in San Diego registered objections to solemnizing same sex marriages that the county's top clerk, who had tried to accomodate religious objections by his own staff, found that he could not, the Union-Tribune reports.
Douglas Kmiec, the Pepperdine University law professor best known as a conservative supporter of Barack Obama, opposes same-sex initiative and thus supports the November ballot initiative to ban it in California. In a piece outlining his opposition, he makes an interesting point that should draw the notice of gay marriage supporters.
Kmiec sees potential legal issues in th language drafted in support of and against the initiative for the official pamphlet that goes to voters. The professor argues that if the language in favor of the measure (that is, opposing gay marriage) is vague, then it could open the door to a legal challenge to the initiative if it were to pass.
Here's how Kmiec explains it:
"Because an affirmative vote is obviously intended to reverse the recent 4-3 opinion that wrongly overruled the people, the supporting ballot explanation should retain this simplicity. To avoid litigation, however, that explanation should explicitly indicate the effect of passage as reversing both the decision and reasoning of the court. Were the initiative to be narrowly portrayed in the ballot pamphlet as only denying that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right, the overly litigious would be tempted to argue that the court's additional holding that sexual orientation is a suspect class was untouched by the balloting, leaving an avenue to block the people's will yet again. The state Attorney General and Secretary of State should not allow this judicially active mischief."