Prop 8 Plaintiffs File Motion Opposing Judge Walker’s Stay

The American Foundation for Equal Rights, who represented the plaintiffs in the Prop 8 trial, filed the motion yesterday, the day it was due.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and attorney general Jerry Brown filed their own motions yesterday as well.

Ob AFER issued the following statement calling for same-sex marriages in California to resume at once.

“The unconstitutionality of Proposition 8 has been proven beyond a doubt. Extending Prop. 8’s denial of fundamental constitutional rights represents a grave injustice. The time for the court’s ruling to go into effect is now. We welcome Governor Schwarzenegger’s and Attorney General Brown’s opposition of a stay after their thoughtful analysis of the evidence, the court’s ruling and the law.”

Read the full motion here.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights has published an explanation on the possible ways the stay could potentially play out:

"Judge Walker can decide whether to stay the decision for longer at any time. If he grants the motion to stay, same-sex couples will not be able to marry in California until after the appeal is finished. The Judge can also delay the decision for a short time until the Ninth Circuit appeals court decides whether they will order a stay. If Judge Walker denies the stay and permits his decision to take immediate effect, the Yes on 8 proponents can ask the Ninth Circuit appeals court to order an emergency stay. Several counties have announced that, if Judge Walker lifts the stay, they are ready to begin issuing licenses and performing civil ceremonies for same-sex couples."

Meanwhile, David Boies, one half of the team who repped the prop 8 plaintiffs, told a large crowd in San Francisco that he believes it is a "dead certainty" the case will end up in the hands of the US Supreme Court. Watch a clip of him speak, AFTER THE JUMP.

Finally, Equality California is calling on everyone to sign their electronic petition that urges Meg Whitman and Steve Cooley, who are running for the CA governorship and AG positions respectively, to state that they will refuse to defend Prop 8 in court if they are ever elected.

Sign it here.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Schwarzenegger, California AG Jerry Brown File Motions Urging Judge Walker to Allow Same-Sex Marriages to Resume

UPDATE: Governor Schwarzenegger wants same-sex marriages to resume immediately!

"The Republican governor filed his brief with U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker before a Friday deadline to submit arguments on whether to continue a stay of Walker's decision against Proposition 8.
'The Administration believes the public interest is best served by permitting the Court's judgment to go into effect, thereby restoring the right of same-sex couples to marry in California,' wrote Kenneth C. Mennemeier, an attorney representing Schwarzenegger, in the brief. 'Doing so is consistent with California's long history of treating all people and their relationships with equal dignity and respect.'"

California Attorney General Jerry Brown has filed a motion opposing a stay of Judge Walker's decision striking down Proposition 8:

Brown "Brown told U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker that his historic ruling that overturned Proposition 8 probably will be upheld by higher courts. He said his office last year opposed a pretrial request to block Proposition 8 only because the legal and factual issues had not then been explored.

'That has now occurred,' Brown's office said. 'And while there is still the potential for limited administrative burdens should future marriages of same-sex couples be later declared invalid, these potential burdens are outweighed by this court’s conclusion, based on the overwhelming evidence, that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.'

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is also expected to oppose a hold on the ruling."

Written arguments were due today regarding the stay. Walker has said he'll decide after reviewing them.

Read Brown's motion, AFTER THE JUMP

2010.08.06 AG. Opp to Def Mtn for Stay


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Gays in Brazil can file taxes jointly

We’re number one!

From O Globo in Brazil:

Casais homossexuais poderão declarar o companheiro ou companheira como dependente do Imposto de Renda (IR), desde que cumpram os mesmos requisitos estabelecidos pela lei para os heterossexuais com união estável, como vida em comum por cinco anos. A Receita Federal poderá notificar o contribuinte para verificar a informação.

I speak Spanish, and studied a bit of Portuguese, so I’ll give you a good, but less than perfect, translation. Actually, I just went to Google Translate, and it did a shockingly good job. So here’s its translation, with my tweeks:

Gay couples can declare their partner as a dependent on their income tax (IR), provided they meet the same requirements established by law for heterosexuals (such as living together for five years). The IRS may notify the taxpayer to verify the information.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

DART accused of transphobia

Judge reversed order after transit agency fought longtime employee’s gender-marker change last year

John Wright | News Editor
wright@dallasvoice.com

TRANS FRIENDLY? | Judge Lynn Cherry, right, is shown alongside drag performer Chanel during Stonewall Democrats’ 2008 holiday party at the Round-Up Saloon. A few months later, Cherry ruled against a transgender DART employee and overturned a gender-marker change. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

DART stands accused of bigotry and transphobia after attorneys for the local transit agency intervened in family court last year to challenge a gender-marker change granted to an employee.

According to court records, a transgender DART employee obtained a court order in February 2009 directing all state agencies to correct their records by changing her gender-marker from male to female, including on her birth certificate.

As Dallas Voice reported last week, many Dallas County judges have been routinely granting gender-marker changes to transgender people who meet set criteria — including documentation from licensed medical personnel — since the Democratic sweep of 2006.

The DART employee, who’s name is being withheld to protect her anonymity, later presented the court order to the transit agency’s human resources department and requested that her personnel records be changed to reflect her new gender.

But DART’s attorneys objected to the gender-marker change and responded by filing a motion seeking a rehearing in court. DART’s objections prompted 301st Family District Court Judge Lynn Cherry to reverse her order granting the gender-marker change.

“Where does this stop when an employer can start interfering with your personal life and family law decisions?” said longtime local transgender activist Pamela Curry, a friend of the DART employee who brought the case to the attention of Dallas Voice. “She was devastated. This should be a serious concern to a lot of people — everybody — and I just think this story needs to be told.”

Judge Cherry, who received Stonewall Democrats of Dallas’ Pink Pump Award for her support of the group last year, didn’t respond to messages seeking comment this week.

Morgan Lyons, a spokesman for DART, noted that Cherry reversed her order before the agency actually filed its motion for a rehearing. However, Curry alleges that DART’s attorneys met with Cherry privately and pressured her into reversing the order.

As is common with gender-marker changes, the case file has been sealed, but Dallas Voice obtained copies of some of the court documents from Curry.

In their motion for a rehearing, DART attorneys Harold R. McKeever and Hyattye Simmons argued that Texas law grants registrars, not judges, the authority to amend birth certificates. They also argued that birth certificates could be amended only if they were inaccurate at the time of birth.

“It’s not a DART issue, it’s a point of law,” Lyons told Dallas Voice this week, in response to the allegations of bigotry. “The lawyers concluded that the birth certificate could not be altered by law, unless there was a mistake made when the birth certificate was completed, and again, the judge changed the order before we even wound up going into court with it.”

Asked about DART’s LGBT-related employment policies, Lyons said the agency’s nondiscrimination policy includes sexual orientation but not gender identity/expression. The agency, which is governed by representatives from Dallas and numerous suburbs, also doesn’t offer benefits to the domestic partners of employees.

Lyons didn’t respond to other allegations made by Curry, including that the agency has fought the employee’s transition from male to female at every step of the way.

Curry, who helped the employee file her pro se petition for a gender-marker change, said the employee has worked for DART for more than 20 years and has an outstanding performance record.

The employee began to come out as transgender in 2003 and had gender reassignment surgery more than three years ago, Curry said. Curry said DART supervisors have at various times told the employee that she couldn’t have long hair, couldn’t wear skirts to work and couldn’t use women’s restrooms at work.

The employee has responded by showing up at work in her uniform so she doesn’t have to change and using public restrooms on her bus route, Curry said.

Supervisors have also told the employee she can’t talk to the media and can’t join political groups, such as Stonewall Democrats, Curry said.

“She’s intimidated and she’s scared,” Curry said. “One supervisor even suggested to her that if she doesn’t lay off it, they will mess up her retirement.”

Elaine Mosher, a Dallas attorney who’s familiar with the case, also questioned why DART intervened. Mosher didn’t represent the employee in the case but has handled gender-marker changes for other clients.

Mosher said the employee’s gender doesn’t have any bearing on her ability to do her job at DART.

“My argument in any gender marker matter is, the birth certificate was wrong, that’s why they had to go through the transition surgery, in essence to put them in the correct gender,” Mosher said. “All I can tell you is that it seems strange to me that DART would care one way or another what the gender marker of anybody that works for them is.”

Moster added that she believes someone at DART may have been “freaked out” by the employee’s transition from male to female and developed a “vendetta” against her.

“I wish I had a good explanation for why [DART got involved] other than the fact that I know there are people out there who are utterly blind and prejudiced for no other reason than they are,” Mosher said. “I compare it to some of the nonsense African-Americans had to live through in the ’60s.”

Mosher also said she’s “very surprised” that Cherry reversed the order granting the gender marker change.

Erin Moore, president of Stonewall Democrats, said she’s heard “bits and pieces” of the story but isn’t sure of all the facts.

Moore said in response to her questions about the case, Cherry told her she couldn’t talk about it because it’s still within the timeframe for a possible appeal.

“Lynn is a longtime supporter of Stonewall and I would think she would be fair in the case,” Moore said. “I’m confident she’s an ally to this community.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 19, 2010.

—  admin