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 (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

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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.”


—  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.


—  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.)


—  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. Daily News

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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.”
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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.
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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.

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New Legislation Proposes Teaching of LGBT History in California

In October, I posted about a London school which claims to have virtually eradicated anti-gay bullying. How? By teaching kids about gay history and the contributions of well-known LGBT people to society.

Leno Yesterday, California State Senator Mark Leno introduced the FAIR Education act, a piece of legislation that would do require schools to adopt similar principles to those that appear to have worked wonders at London's Stoke Newington School.

According to Equality California, "The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act would amend the Education Code to include social sciences instruction on the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. This bill would also prohibit discriminatory instruction and discriminatory materials from being adopted by the State Board of Education."

Said Leno in a statement: "Most textbooks don't include any historical information about the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) movement, which has great significance to both California and U.S. history. Our collective silence on this issue perpetuates negative stereotypes of LGBT people and leads to increased bullying of young people." 

Equality California is asking you to contact lawmakers and express your support for the FAIR act. You can find out how to do so here.

Towleroad News #gay

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NCLR: Frequently Asked Questions About Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in California

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) has a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for Californians. This was updated on December 6, 2010. The FAQ is posted in full.

The Appeal – What’s Happening Now and What We Can Expect

On August 4, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker issued a decision in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger concluding that Proposition 8, the California constitutional amendment barring same-sex couples from marrying, violates the United States Constitution. Judge Walker wrote a 136-page decision that analyzed all the evidence submitted in the three-week trial. Thumbnail Link: NCLR's 'Frequently Asked Questions About Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in California'He ruled that Prop 8 violates the federal constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection. The group that put Prop 8 on the ballot, known as the Prop 8 “proponents,” has appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard oral argument in the case on December 6, 2010.

1. My partner and I want to get married in California. Now that Judge Walker has ruled that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, when/where/how can we do that?
Same-sex couples in California cannot yet marry because the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals “stayed” Judge Walker’s ruling while the appeal is pending. That means that same-sex couples will not be able to get married in California until the appeals court has finished reviewing the case.

Same-sex couples can currently get married in five states in the U.S.: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Vermont, as well as Washington, D.C. A number of other countries also allow same-sex couples to marry, including Canada.

Same-sex couples in California can also register as domestic partners, a status that provides most of the legal rights and responsibilities of marriage under state law.

[More below the fold.]

2. How long will the Ninth Circuit take to issue a decision?
The Ninth Circuit is not required to issue its decision within any particular time frame after oral argument, but when an appeal is expedited, the court tends to issue decisions more quickly. It will probably issue a decision within a few weeks or months.

Once the Ninth Circuit rules, the losing side can ask the United States Supreme Court to hear the case. The Supreme Court can choose whether to take the case or to let the Ninth Circuit’s decision stand.

If the Supreme Court takes the case, it could take anywhere from a few months to a year to issue a decision. If the Supreme Court were to get the case sometime in 2011, the soonest we could expect a decision would probably be the spring of 2012.

3. Why is the appeal being heard by a three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit? Will the whole Ninth Circuit ever hear the case?
It is typical for appeals to the Ninth Circuit to be heard by three-judge panels. That is the normal process. The three judges are randomly selected in each case.

After the three-judge panel rules, the losing party can request that a bigger panel of 11 judges review that decision. That is called “rehearing en banc.” All the active judges on the Ninth Circuit would then vote on that request, and rehearing en banc would only be granted if a majority of the Ninth Circuit judges approve it.

4. I’ve heard that there is a question about whether the Prop 8 proponents have “standing” to appeal Judge Walker’s decision. What does that mean and when will that question be decided?
“Standing” means whether a particular person or group has a legal right to appeal a court ruling. As a general rule, in order to have standing to appeal a decision, you must be able to show that you are harmed by it. In the Prop 8 case, Judge Walker said that the Prop 8 proponents may not have standing to appeal because they were not able to show that they would be personally harmed in any way if same-sex couples are permitted to marry.

The Ninth Circuit judges devoted half of the time at the December 6 oral argument to the issue of standing. If the panel decides that neither the Proponents of Prop 8 nor the County of Imperial, which unsuccessfully tried to intervene in the case, has standing to appeal, it will dismiss the appeal. In that event, Judge Walker’s ruling will stand and the State of California will be prohibited from enforcing Prop 8 anywhere in the state.

5. If the Ninth Circuit decides that the Prop 8 supporters don’t have standing to bring an appeal, would they be able to appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court? Or does the case stop there?
If the Ninth Circuit rules that the Prop 8 proponents don’t have standing to bring an appeal, the proponents could ask the Supreme Court to review that decision. The Supreme Court could choose to hear that appeal or to let the Ninth Circuit’s decision stand.

The Effect the Ruling Will Have on Marriage Laws Across the Country

6. I live in a state other than California. Does Judge Walker’s decision mean that same-sex couples can now get married in every state? If not, would that be the result of a decision from the Ninth Circuit, or the Supreme Court?
Judge Walker’s decision is just about California, but other courts could apply his language and logic to other discriminatory marriage laws across the country.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over all the states in the Ninth Circuit, which include Alaska, Washington, Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii. If the Ninth Circuit decides that Prop 8 violates the federal constitution, it could issue a broad ruling that that applies to all of the states in the Ninth Circuit or it could issue a narrower ruling that only applies to California.

Similarly, if the Supreme Court decides that Prop 8 violates the federal constitution, it could strike down all state marriage bans across the country or it could focus only on Prop 8.

7. If Prop 8 is eventually struck down for good by the Ninth Circuit or the Supreme Court, and a same-sex couple gets married in California, will that marriage be recognized in other states or by the federal government?
A victory in the Prop 8 case will not automatically require other states or the federal government to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who marry in California. Right now, at least seven states and the District of Columbia recognize marriages between same-sex couples. Those states include the five states that permit same-sex couples to marry: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Vermont, as well as Washington, D.C. In addition, New York and Maryland do not permit same-sex couples to marry within their borders, but they recognize marriages from other places. Unfortunately, many other states deny recognition to marriages between same-sex couples.

The federal government currently doesn’t recognize any marriages between same-sex couples due to the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Legal challenges to DOMA, brought by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and the ACLU, are underway in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. In the Massachusetts case, a federal district court ruled in July 2010 that the part of DOMA prohibiting the federal government from recognizing valid marriages of same-sex couples is unconstitutional. That decision has been stayed (i.e., put on hold) pending an appeal to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

8. If the Ninth Circuit or the Supreme Court ultimately rules that Prop 8 is constitutional, what will that mean for the fight for marriage equality in California? Will it be over for good?
The fight for marriage equality in California will still go on, even if Judge Walker’s decision is overturned on appeal. Prop 8 can always be repealed by another ballot initiative – and in fact, efforts in support of a repeal measure are currently underway. Contact Equality California to find out how you can get involved:

9. What will be the effect on other states if the Supreme Court rules that Prop 8 is constitutional? Will that mean that same-sex couples can no longer marry in states like Massachusetts?
Prop 8 is blatantly unconstitutional, and the United States Supreme Court should affirm Judge Walker’s decision striking it down. But even if the Supreme Court reverses Judge Walker’s decision and says that Prop 8 is valid, that would not take away equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in any states where it’s currently legal. State courts would still be free to strike down marriage bans under their state constitutions, just like the state supreme courts in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa have already done. And state legislatures (and Congress) would still be free to repeal marriage bans.

Current Marriage and Domestic Partnership Rights in California

10. My partner and I are registered as domestic partners with the state of California, but we want to get married as soon as it’s allowed. Will we need to dissolve our domestic partnership in order to marry?
You do not need to dissolve your domestic partnership in order to marry your domestic partner. Under California law, an individual can be married and in a registered domestic partnership at the same time, as long as it’s with the same person. As a practical matter, it is a good idea to do both to get the maximum legal protection.

11. We got married in California between June 16, 2008 and November 5, 2008. Is our marriage still recognized in California?
Yes. In 2009, in the case of Strauss v. Horton, the California Supreme Court held that it would be unconstitutional to take away the marriages of same-sex couples who married in California before Prop 8 passed. If you married in California during that period, your marriage is completely valid and entitled to full recognition and respect.

12. If my partner and I got married in another state or country before Prop 8 passed, does California recognize our marriage? Should we remarry in California when we can?
California fully recognizes the marriages of same-sex couples who married outside of California before Prop 8 passed (Nov. 5, 2008). If you married in another state or country before Nov. 5, 2008, you are entitled to full recognition as married under California law. There is no need to remarry in California.

For more details about the current rights of same-sex couples who get married outside of California, please see

13. If my partner and I got married in another state or country after Prop 8 passed, will California recognize our marriage? Should we remarry in California when we can?
Same-sex couples who marry outside California after November 5th, 2008 currently have all of the rights, benefits, and responsibilities of marriage under California law except for the name “marriage.” That means the state of California will treat you as married, but it cannot officially recognize your marriage as a marriage.

If Judge Walker’s decision is upheld on appeal, same-sex couples who are already married will not need to remarry in California. Marriages between same-sex couples from other states or countries will be recognized as valid marriages in California, no matter when the couple got married.

For more details about the current rights of same-sex couples who get married outside of California, please see

Winning Marriage Equality Across the Country

14. How can we help in the fight to win marriage equality in every state?
The only way we can ultimately win marriage equality across the entire country is to build public support for full inclusion and acceptance of our relationships and families. That will give legislators and courts the confidence they need to do the right thing and repeal or strike down discriminatory marriage laws. Polls show that around half of the public supports marriage equality, but we need to make that number higher. All of us can help make that happen by talking to everyone we know about why marriage equality is important to us.

To find out other ways you can get involved with the marriage equality fight in your state, contact your local LGBT-rights organization. You can find a listing of the statewide groups at For information about how to get involved in California, contact Equality California at

For more information about your legal rights and how to protect your family, you can contact NCLR’s helpline anytime at or call 415.392.6257 or toll-free 1.800.528.6257.

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