DOMA ruled unconstitutional by bankruptcy court

A federal bankruptcy court in California on Monday ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles ruled that it is discriminatory to prevent a legally married same-sex couple from filing for joint bankruptcy.

The couple, Gene Balas and Carlos Morales, filed a joint chapter 13 petition. They were married in 2008 in California and remain legally married.

In his ruling, the judge wrote: “This case is about equality, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, for two people who filed for protection under Title 11 of the United States Code (Bankruptcy Code).”

It is “undisputed that the Debtors are a lawfully married California couple,” the judge wrote, adding that the couple came to the court to restructure and repay their debt following extended illnesses and long periods of unemployment.

The U.S. trustee for the case filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that two men cannot file jointly for bankruptcy. The judge ruled the trustee did not ask for dismissal based on one of the 11 causes listed in bankruptcy law to dismiss, but simply because the couple are two men.

The judge said the trustee filed no relevant case law supporting his position and said the couple should not be singled out for discriminatory treatment. He cited the Obama administration’s position that DOMA is unconstitutional and ruled that, indeed it is.

—  David Taffet

ANNIVERSARIES: Louise Young and Vivienne Armstrong, George Amerson and Mike Grossman

ARMSTRONG-YOUNG  | Louise Young and Vivienne Armstrong celebrated their 40th anniversary Monday, April 18. The couple met on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1971 through the Gay Liberation Front organization there. They had a civil union in Vermont in 2000 and were legally married in California in August 2008.

 

GROSSMAN-AMERSON  | George Amerson and Mike Grossman marked their 40th anniversary Wednesday, April 20, after celebrating the event with a gathering of family and friends the previous weekend. Grossman is a Minneapolis native who had lived in Dallas a year when he met Amerson, a native of west Texas who had already lived in Dallas several years when they met. The couple say they are most proud of their children, Laura and Devon Cloud and Barney and Stephanie Grossman, and their grandchildren, Miles and Rachel. The two work in residential real estate, Grossman for 50 years and Amerson for more than 35 years.

—  John Wright

California Supreme Court Accepts Prop 8 Question

The California Supreme Court has decided to accept the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals request to decide whether the Defendant-Intervenor’s in Perry v Schwarzenegger (the Proposition 8 case) have standing under California law to act as defendants in the case.

As the notice says, oral arguments are estimated to be heard sometime in September of 2011. That would mean a decision would not be likely until some time in 2012 December, 2011 (California law gives appellate courts three months to decide a case after oral arguments). That would mean the case would not get back to the Ninth Circuit until some time after that, probably in 2012. When they would issue an opinion on standing and/or an opinion of the actual case (whether Proposition 8 violates the US Constitution) is anyone’s guess.

In any case any decision is likely to be appealed to the US Supreme Court, which would not likely hear the case until late 2012 or 2013.

One thing is clear: Marriage equality (or denial of marriage equality) in California via the courts is a long, long way off.

The request, pursuant to California Rules of Court, rule 8.548, that this court decide a question of California law presented in a matter pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, is granted. For the purposes of briefing and oral argument, defendant-intervenors Dennis Hollingsworth, Gail J. Knight, Martin F. Gutierrez, Mark A. Jansson, and ProtectMarriage.com (collectively “Proponents”) are deemed the petitioners in this court. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.520(a)(6).) In order to facilitate expedited consideration and resolution of the issues presented, and to accommodate oral argument in this matter as early as September, 2011, the normal briefing schedule is shortened, pursuant to California Rules of Court, rule 8.68, as follows: The opening brief on the merits is to be served and filed on or before Monday, March 14, 2011. The answer brief on the merits is to be served and filed on or before Monday, April 4. A reply brief may be served and filed on or before Monday, April 18. Any person or entity wishing to file an amicus curiae brief must file an application for permission to file such brief, accompanied by the proposed brief, on or before Monday, May 2, 2011. Any party may serve and file an omnibus reply to any or all amicus curiae briefs on or before Monday, May 9, 2011. The court does not contemplate any extension of the above deadlines. Votes: Cantil-Sakauye, C.J., Kennard, Baxter, Werdegar, Chin, Moreno, and Corrigan, JJ.

Perry v Schwarzenegger

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

California Supreme Court will hold hearing on standing issue in Prop. 8 case

Twitter is abuzz with the news that the California Supreme Court will hold a hearing on the standing issue in the Prop. 8 case.

From AFER:

BREAKING: Calif. Supreme Court to hear #Prop8 case with expedited schedule. Oral arguments as soon as Sept 2011.

One thing is clear: this case about marriage equality will be front and center during the 2012 presidential campaign. Background on what all of this means here. And, we’ll post more as we get more info. I expect we’ll see a statement from AFER — and that’s the one that matters.

UPDATE @ 6:16 PM: And, here’s that statement from AFER:

Statement by the American Foundation for Equal Rights on California Supreme Court Response to Ninth Circuit

Los Angeles, CA – American Foundation for Equal Rights Board President Chad Griffin issued the following statement regarding the California Supreme Court’s response to the question from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case:

“More than six months ago, the federal district court declared unequivocally that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional and that it causes grave harm to gay and lesbian couples and their families each day that it is in effect. We look forward to assisting the California Supreme Court reach an answer to the question before them as soon as possible so that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals can affirm the district court’s ruling and end the state-sanctioned discrimination of Prop. 8. We are hopeful that the California Supreme Court will also consider further expediting this matter so that it could be argued before the summer.

“The American Foundation for Equal Rights is committed to achieving the freedom to marry for all Americans. We look forward to taking this case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which 14 times before has declared that marriage is a fundamental right for every American.”




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

Gay Radio Novella will be broadcast to Latino Farm Workers in California

Considering how the comedy “Will and Grace” moved social acceptance of gay rights forward in our country, the more serious radionovela, “Bienvenidos a Casa,” or “Welcome Home,” is a great idea. It features the story of a gay teenager who is rejected by latino society then accepted by his mother, then his neighbors:

Activists say it’s the first time information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues is reaching rural Latino farmworker communities in a language and format that’s accessible.

The three-episode radionovela, developed in collaboration with San Francisco State University and California Rural Legal Assistance, was based on input from community focus groups and performed by community volunteers.

Many Latinos grew up listening to radionovelas, which in some parts of Latin America are more popular than television and have inspired the creation of telenovelas – TV soap operas. The radio dramas depict life’s struggles through recurring characters and themes. In recent years, short radionovelas have become an increasingly popular way to raise awareness of various issues among Latino audiences in the U.S.

Welcome change for a culture that is used to ridiculing and trumpeting negative stereotypes. Latino entertainment has been in dire need of positive messages regarding acceptance of differing sexual orientations and gender expression.

Note from Joe: This is a pretty cool development — and can only help with potential allies. Last year, polling in California showed that Latino Catholics are actually strong supporters of marriage equality. Family matters.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

On the horizon, a ‘Gay super city’ to be built in California

From the Advocate:

Almost a dozen architecture firms have created designs for a proposed gay-centric, pedestrian-friendly community not far from Palm Springs, Calif.

Called Boom, the community would house 300 residences and eight neighborhoods in a space of 100 acres. While originally conceived by a Los Angeles developer as a gay-centered community, Boom would be open to anyone. Aside from homes, amenities include an entertainment center and a “rooftop mist disco.”

Located in Rancho Mirage, Boom has not yet started to wend its way through the city approval process, but its developer hopes to break ground next year and finish construction in late 2014. The project’s first phase would cost about $ 250 million to develop.

and the name of this gay utopia is, are you ready… “Boom” !!! (I’ll be seeing you there.)




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

California LGBT Caucus Selects Chair

Christine Kehoe x390 (her site) | ADVOCATE.COMState senator Christine Kehoe has been elected to chair California’s largest-ever LGBT legislative caucus.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Fundies warn that if Prop 8 is struck down, an earthquake will take out California

My West Coast peeps, be prepared for a wild ride courtesy of the Man Upstairs — based on the prayer alert detailed by fundies Cindy Jacobs and Chuck Pierce. Apparently the Heaven Hotline they are privy to has death and destruction on the way based on a possible earthly legal ruling (via Right Wing Watch). Please protect thy keyboards…

Yesterday, January 4th, I was called by a key intercessor in Santa Ynez. (Please note as you proceed, yesterday was the same day prop 8 was sent to the California Supreme Court) She reported two visions from separate individuals in the area:

A pastor of a large Nazarene Church had a dream of a very large earthquake on the central coast. He shared this at the Christmas gathering for all the Santa Maria Pastors and 5 cities area. Because of the destruction and intensity of the quake he thought he should tell the Pastors so they could pray into it.

Another intercessor in the area had a dream and saw a map of California. She noticed on the map how Pt. Conception juts out into the water. As she looked she saw an 8 with a circle beside it in the waters off Pt Conception.

Regarding these dreams the issue of 8 is significant: Yesterday, January 4th, Prop 8 went to the California Supreme Court … Prop 8 is a foundational covenant issue, i.e. issue of marriage, in the state. If the state supreme court does not uphold it, a covenant issue is broken with God. Judgment is looming. Also, of note yesterday it was announced on the radio and sent to me by another intercessor that in San Diego, there is a Korean war memorial. A judge has ruled that a cross that was dedicated in the 1950′s, cannot be there, as it is, because it stands for the the government embracing “a religion”. The implication was that it had to be “modified”. She stated in her note to me, “the MOMENT I heard this I had a “sinking feeling” in my heart and said out loud in my car. God will not contend this any longer, judgment is coming.”

Many are feeling the weight of this hour and time. There has been a very real assignment of death and destruction as many have faced health issues, even serious ones. We are at a critical “hinge point” and much will depend on our prayers and actions now. An earthquake from Point Conception would divide impact the state in three major fault lines and could potentially divide the state in half. We pray this stirs your hearts towards God’s purposes. Our hope and trust is in Him.

Have they telephoned Gov. Brown to put out a warning to residents yet? FYI, Cindy Jacobs also claims to be able to cast out “gay demons.”

During an October 7, 2008 evening ceremony at the conference Jacobs conducted a mass exorcism, casting out not only “spirits” of homosexuality but also spirits of pornography, addiction, lust, bisexuality, and perversion. [below: exorcism of "homosexual spirits" begins 40 seconds into video]


Pierce, on the other hand, claims even greater powers. Apparently he and other “prophetic interceptors” were key players in the capture of Saddam Hussein, documented in his book “The Future War of the Church: How We Can Defeat Lawlessness and Bring God’s Order to the Earth.”
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Breaking Prop 8 news: federal case punted by 9th circuit back to California Supreme Court

There’s a lot of legalese to read through, but the short answer is that the federal court (9th circuit) is handing the case back to the California Supreme Court to determine whether the Protect Marriage crowd has standing to appeal. The brief:

               

Calitics has a quick analysis up:

A further reading of the document issued minutes ago by the 9th Circuit indicates that the court is ready to rule that Prop 8 proponents DO have standing to appeal. In turn, that would enable the 9th Circuit to decide whether Prop 8 is a violation of the 14th Amendment (and obviously it is), a decision that would have major ramifications across California and the country. Here’s what the 9th Circuit said:
If California does grant the official proponents of an initiative the authority to represent the State’s interest in defending a voter-approved initiative when public officials have declined to do so or to appeal a judgment invalidating the initiative, then Proponents would also have standing to appeal on behalf of the State….

We are aware that in California, “All political power is inherent in the people,” Cal. Const. art. II, ? 1, and that to that end, Article II, section 8(a) of the California Constitution provides, “The initiative is the power of the electors to propose statutes and amendments to the Constitution and to adopt or reject them.” We are also aware that the Supreme Court of California has described the initiative power as “one of the most precious rights of our democratic process,” and indeed, that “the sovereign people’s initiative power” is considered to be a “fundamental right.”…

The power of the citizen initiative has, since its inception, enjoyed a highly protected status in California. For example, the Legislature may not amend or repeal an initiative statute unless the People have approved of its doing so….

Similarly, under California law, the proponents of an initiative may possess a particularized interest in defending the constitutionality of their initiative upon its enactment; the Constitution’s purpose in reserving the initiative power to the People would appear to be ill-served by allowing elected officials to nullify either proponents’ efforts to “propose statutes and amendments to the Constitution” or the People’s right “to adopt or reject” such propositions. Cal. Const. art. II, ? 8(a). Rather than rely on our own understanding of this balance of power under the California Constitution, however, we certify the question so that the Court may provide an authoritative answer as to the rights, interests, and authority under California law of the official proponents of an initiative measure to defend its validity upon its enactment in the case of a challenge to its constitutionality, where the state officials charged with that duty refuse to execute it.

So what does that all mean? Let me boil it down. Basically, California’s constitution and various CA Supreme Court decisions in the last few decades have indicated that the initiative power is a right inherent to the people of the state, and does not stem from the Legislature. It sets up the people as a kind of fourth branch of government. And therefore, if the Governor and the Attorney General refuse to defend a proposition in court, that could essentially nullify the fundamental rights of the voters. Since ballot initiatives stem from the people, presumably the people – in the form of the initiative proponents – DO have standing to defend Prop 8 in court and to appeal it to the 9th Circuit in order to preserve the people’s initiative power.

Click over for more.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

CALIFORNIA: Pastor Who Backed Prop 8 Held On Multiple Child Molestation Charges

Pastor Tom Daniels of Rio Linda, California is being held on M bail after being charged with multiple felony counts of sexual assault on a child. Lavender Newswire reports that Daniels twice made donations to Protect Marriage, the backers of Proposition 8.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin