We don’t all have the luxury of time

The American Foundation for Equal Rights, the organization behind the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, has asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift its injunction and allow legal same-sex marriages to resume in California as the lawsuit moves through the appeals process.

As you probably remember, early last year federal District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Prop 8 — an amendment to the California Constitution approved in a 2008 voter referendum — violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection. California state officials said they would not appeal the ruling because they, too, believed Prop 8 to be unconstitutional. But the folks who backed the amendment in the first place and who were the only ones to try to defend it in Walker’s court, did appeal the decision to the 9th Circuit, which issued an injunction that is keeping same-sex marriages from resuming under Walker’s ruling. But in addition, the 9th Circuit, unsure whether the Prop 8 supporters even have legal standing to appeal, have asked the California Supreme Court to weigh in on the question of standing.

And therein lies the problem. The California Supreme Court justices have said they will issue an opinion on standing, but they aren’t in any hurry to do it. In fact, they don’t plan to issue any decisions until sometime after the summer.

And that just isn’t soon enough for some people, and that’s why AFER is asking the 9th Circuit to lift the injunction.  We don’t all have the luxury of time, and that includes 78-year-old Ed Watson of Palm Springs.

Watson has joined in Courage Campaign’s efforts to get the injunction lifted by writing this letter and making the video above. I think he says it all:

“Yesterday, I found out the California Supreme Court denied a motion to speed up the Prop 8 trial. They’re going to take their summer recess and come back in around 6 months or so. It must be nice for them.

“The thing is, I am 78 years old, and I have Alzheimer’s disease. I have been with my partner, Derence, for over 40 years. And if the courts drag this out for months and months, I fear I will, God forbid, lose the ability to recognize my beloved Derence when he gets on his knee to propose to me.

“I can’t afford that, and Derence deserves better. That’s why I agreed to be named in Courage Campaign’s amicus curiae letter to the 9th Circuit, asking that the stay be lifted so I can at least have my dignity on our wedding day.

“Please watch this video of my and my partner Derence, then co-sign our letter to the 9th Circuit, begging them to lift the stay while the California Supreme Court drags its feet.

“If the California Supreme Court is going to take its time, then we deserve the dignity of marriage … before I can’t remember what marriage is.”

“Humbly, Ed Watson, Palm Springs, CA.”

—  admin

Federal appeals court asked to allow same-sex marriages to resume in California

Ted Olson

The American Foundation for Equal Rights, which is challenging Proposition 8 in federal court, today asked an appeals court to lift its stay blocking same-sex marriages in California and allow them to resume immediately pending the outcome of the case.

In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit stayed an injunction barring enforcement of Prop 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage. However, AFER argues in its motion filed today that due to delays in the Prop 8 case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the stay should be lifted.

AFER’s request is unrelated to today’s announcement by the Obama administration calling a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and saying the Department of Justice will no longer defend DOMA in federal court.

“We are respectfully asking the Court to lift its stay on marriage for gay and lesbian couples because it has become apparent that the legal process is taking considerably longer than could reasonably have been anticipated,” said Theodore B. Olson, co-lead counsel for AFER. “It’s important to remember that the stay was originally ordered with the understanding that the Ninth Circuit would rule swiftly on the case before it. Now that the issue of the Proponents’ standing to appeal has been referred for analysis by the California Supreme Court, substantial additional, indefinite and unanticipated delays lie ahead. It’s unreasonable and decidedly unjust to expect California’s gay and lesbian couples to put their lives on hold and suffer daily discrimination as second class citizens while their U.S. District Court victory is debated further.”

Read the full press release after the jump.

—  John Wright

In wake of one activist’s murder, another faces deportation back to homophobic Uganda

As mourners in Uganda on Friday laid to rest gay activist David Kato, bludgeoned to death on Wednesday in his home in Kampala, in Britian several members of Parliament were calling on their government to halt the imminent deportation of Brenda Namigadde, a 29-year-old lesbian activist who was supposed to be sent back to Uganda tonight.

Same-gender sexual contact is illegal in Uganda, with those convicted facing sentences of up to 14 years in prison. Some government officials have in the last year been pushing to make the laws regarding homosexuality in Uganda even harsher, including death sentences in some cases.

According to reports by the BBC, Namigadde, who fled Uganda for the United Kingdom in 2002, said she was beaten and victimized in her home country because of her sexual orientation. However, when she applied for asylum, British immigration officials denied her application, saying that “an immigration judge found on the evidence before him that Ms. Namigadde was not homosexual.”

Ugandan MP David Bahati, the main force behind the death-to-gays legislation there, has said that Namigadde must either “repent or reform” or she will be arrested on her return, according to reports in The Guardian.

Although Namigadde’s first appeal asking for an injunction to stop her deportation was denied, her lawyers continue to work to have the deportation stopped.

Among the MPs calling on immigration officials to halt Namigadde’s deportation is Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith where Namigadde lived while in England. Slaughter said, “Whatever the circumstances surrounding Ms Namigadde’s presence in Britain, it is clear that she cannot be deported to Uganda at present. Both the public mood and the official stance towards homosexuals in Uganda are lethal at the moment — we should not be contemplating sending my constituents back to a society where she will be in grave danger of her life.”

—  admin

TABC issues 1st licenses in dry Dallas areas

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has issued the first two liquor licenses to restaurants in the formerly dry areas of Dallas, according to a press release we received today.

A mixed beverage permit ihas been issued to Bee at 202 West Davis St. near the Bishop Arts District. This will be the first restaurant in Oak Cliff to serve alcohol without a private club permit since the area went dry in a 1958 election.

The first convenience store south of the river will be able to sell beer and wine as well. That store is on South Loop 12 Ledbetter.

On Nov. 2, a local option was held, legalizing wine and beer off-premises, as well as mixed beverage permits in restaurants that hold food and beverage certificates. Those votes were canvassed, with the results certified and reported to TABC and the Secretary of State in mid-November. TABC accepts applications only after they’ve been certified by the city and county.

A lawsuit has been filed to contest the election, but an injunction has not been ordered, so TABC has begun issuing licenses.

At issue is whether the election is valid. The election in the 1950s that turned parts of Dallas dry were Justice of the Peace district elections. The repeal was citywide. Under Texas law, only a JP district election can repeal a previous JP district election.

About 10 restaurants have liquor licenses pending. Bishop Arts District could be one of the biggest winners if the election is upheld.

—  David Taffet

Ninth Circuit Grants Stay of Injunction, DADT Still In Place

cross-posted at the Great Orange Satan.

Damn it.

Nov. 1 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. government’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” restriction on gays in the military will be enforced while a federal appeals court reviews a judge’s decision that the rule is unconstitutional.

A federal appeals court in San Francisco said today that ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” must be delayed while it considers whether the policy violates the free speech and due process rights of gays and lesbian seeking to serve in the military. The case could take weeks or months to decide.

Stay in your closets, troops. DADT isn't going away for a very, very long time.

Anyone who wants to read the appeal, it's up at Metro Weekly (opens as pdf). This is rich. Two of three Appeals panel judges claimed to support granting a stay of the injunction for three reasons:

  1. “Acts of Congress are presumptively Constitutional, creating an equity in favor of the government when balancing the hardships in a request for a stay pending appeal.” In other words, screw the people who are suffering under a law, since Congress did it, it must be fine and dandy.
  2. “'Judicial deference…is at its apogee' when Congress legislates under its authority to support and raise armies.” We're not touching this one with a fifty-foot pole wrapped in Saran Wrap.
  3. “[T]he District' Court' analysis and conclusions are arguably at odds with the decision of at least four other Circuit Courts of Appeal: the First, Second, Fourth, and Eighth.” All the other Circuits have curbstomped the queers, and we see no reason to buck the trend.

Let's not forget the conclusion:

Accordingly, we conclude that the government's colorable allegations that the lack of an orderly transition in policy will produce immediate harm and precipitous injury are convincing.

Hear that, LGB troops? Your very presence is so dangerous that it will cause immediate harm and precipitous injury.

I could vomit, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Reactions below the fold.

 

From the Plaintiffs, Log Cabin Republicans and their counsel, White & Case:

Dan Woods, White & Case

“The court’s ruling is a disappointment not only to us, but also to all homosexual servicemembers who bravely put themselves in harm’s way so that we can all enjoy the constitutional rights and freedoms that they themselves are being denied,” said Dan Woods, White & Case partner who is representing Log Cabin Republicans. “The decision only slows the day when military service will be available to all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, who want nothing more than to serve their country honorably and patriotically. We will continue to fight on for the constitutional rights of these Americans and look forward to a favorable decision on the merits of the appeal.  Meanwhile, we will discuss the court's order with our client to determine whether we will ask for a review of the order by the US Supreme Court.”

R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director, Log Cabin Republicans

“Log Cabin Republicans is disappointed that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will continue to burden our armed forces, undermine national security and limit the freedom of our men and women in uniform,” said R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans. “Despite this temporary setback, Log Cabin remains confident that we will ultimately prevail on behalf of servicemembers’ constitutional rights.  In the meantime, we urge President Obama to use his statutory stop-loss power to halt discharges under this discriminatory and wasteful policy.  The president claims to want to see ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ ended.  It is time that he stop talking and start working to make a real difference for gay and lesbian Americans by pushing for repeal when Congress returns.”

 

From SLDN:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), released a statement today on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issuing a stay pending appeal of the judgment in the Log Cabin Republicans v. United States case, which found DADT unconstitutional. Last month, U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips ordered an injunction that suspended and discontinued all investigations and discharges under the law.

Statement by Army veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis:

“Today’s decision is a major disappointment, and it underscores the urgent need for the Senate to act this month in the lame duck session to end this confusion and bring about the finality that is needed. We continue to warn service members that it is unsafe to come out as long as this law remains on the books.”

###

WARNING: Gay and lesbian service members OR those interested in signing up to serve who have questions should contact the SLDN legal hotline to speak with an attorney: 202-328-3244 x100.  SLDN also re-issued its warning to active-duty service members, including those in the reserves and the national guard, to know they’re at risk.  Anyone with questions or concerns should call our hotline or visit: www.SLDN.org/StillAtRisk.

From Lambda Legal:

Lambda Legal Disappointed: Ninth Circuit Puts Injunction Against Don't Ask, Don't Tell On Hold

“The pressure is now on Congress to repeal this fundamentally un-American law.”

In response to today's procedural ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal permitting”Don't Ask, Don't Tell” to remain temporarily in effect during an appeal, Lambda Legal issued the following statement from  Staff Attorney Peter Renn:

“Today's ruling means additional months or even years of needless suffering by lesbian, gay and bisexual service members, who must continue to live in fear of discovery until the appeals process is complete – or until Congress or the President steps up to the plate.  But it's important to remember what today's ruling was not:  a consideration of the merits of the case. That remains for another day.

“Each day that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' remains in effect, it destroys lives and careers, undermines national security, and forces the discharge of the very personnel our military needs in a time of war. The pressure is now on Congress to repeal this fundamentally un-American law – and on the President, who can issue a stop-loss order to put an immediate end to discharges under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'”

Lambda Legal filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, brought by Log
Cabin Republicans, urging the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to leave
in place pending appeal an injunction against the law, saying that its
impact extends far beyond those in uniform, to include lesbian, gay, and
bisexual adults and youth, who must contend with the consequences of the
discriminatory message perpetuated by”Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”

For more information, please go to http://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/lcr-v-usa.html.

From Servicemembers United:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, issued the following statement today in response to the Ninth Circuit's acceptance of the government's request for a longer stay of the injunction barring enforcement of the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy:

“It is really unfortunate that the government has tricked the Ninth Circuit into believing that 'enormous consequences,' 'immediate harm,' and 'irreparable injury' will result from a continuation of the injunction,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and the only named veteran plaintiff in the case. “By the government's own admission elsewhere, none of these predicted consequences or injuries have come to pass while the law has been enjoined, and the Defense Department has even voluntarily created a de facto moratorium on discharges by further increasing the level of discharge authority. It is concerning that the government can so blatantly pull one over on an appeals court, and it is equally frustrating that such a distinguished court would allow itself to be fooled so obviously and so publicly in the name of 'deference.' Abdication is more like it.”

In light of this stalling of justice, the very narrow legislative path remains the only way by which the President, administration officials, and the congressional leadership can keep their promise to end “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” this year. In order for there to be any chance for legislative success, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid absolutely must bring the National Defense Authorization Act back up on the Senate floor before the Senate recesses for Thanksgiving.

In a video released online late last week, Servicemembers United's Executive Director explained the very narrow path available to achieve a legislative victory on “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” by the end of the year. The video can be viewed on Servicemembers United's YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/ServicemembersUnited.

To find out more about Servicemembers United and “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” please visit www.ServicemembersUnited.org.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

BREAKING: Court allows military to continue enforcing ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ pending appeal

The U.S. military can continue enforcing “don’t ask don’t tell” pending the government’s appeal of a district judge’s decision declaring the policy unconstitutional.

With one justice dissenting, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Monday issued a stay of the district judge’s injunction barring the military from enforcing the policy.

The appeals court had already granted a temporary stay of the injunction, but Monday’s decision extends the stay for the duration of the appeal, which will take at least several months.

Chris Geidner at Metro Weekly reports:

“In addition to the fact that this case raises ‘serious legal questions,’” the court wrote, “there are three reasons that persuade us to grant a stay pending appeal.”

The reasons included that “Acts of Congress are presumptively constitutional,” that “‘judicial deference . . . is at its apogee’ when Congress legislates under its authority to raise and support armies” and that “the district court’s analysis and conclusions are arguably at odds with the decisions of at least four other Circuit Courts of Appeal.”

Dan Woods, an attorney for the plaintiffs in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, issued the following statement:

“The court’s ruling is a disappointment not only to us, but also to all homosexual servicemembers who bravely put themselves in harm’s way so that we can all enjoy the constitutional rights and freedoms that they themselves are being denied. The decision only slows the day when military service will be available to all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, who want nothing more than to serve their country honorably and patriotically. We will continue to fight on for the constitutional rights of these Americans and look forward to a favorable decision on the merits of the appeal. Meanwhile, we will discuss the court’s order with our client to determine whether we will ask for a review of the order by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin, said in a statement, “Log Cabin Republicans is disappointed that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will continue to burden our armed forces, undermine national security and limit the freedom of our men and women in uniform. Despite this temporary setback, Log Cabin remains confident that we will ultimately prevail on behalf of servicemembers’ constitutional rights. In the meantime, we urge President Obama to use his statutory stop-loss power to halt discharges under this discriminatory and wasteful policy. The president claims to want to see ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ ended. It is time that he stop talking and start working to make a real difference for gay and lesbian Americans by pushing for repeal when Congress returns.”

—  John Wright

DADT update: Most troops don’t mind serving with gays; appeals court to rule Friday on injunction

A majority of service members who responded to a Pentagon survey wouldn’t mind living and serving alongside openly gay people, according to The Washington Post. Of course, more than half of those who received the survey didn’t respond, which would seem to indicate that they don’t have much of a problem with “don’t ask don’t tell” being repealed, either. And that’s a good thing, because whether they like it or not, they’re already serving alongside gays and lesbians. Besides, it shouldn’t really be up to the troops. Anyhow, the Post’s report is based on findings that were leaked from the study that’s due to President Barack Obama by Dec. 1, on how to end the 17-year-old policy. The Post goes on to note that a federal appeals court is expected to rule later today on whether the military can continue enforcing DADT pending the government’s appeal of a district court’s ruling declaring the policy unconstitutional.

UPDATE: The appeals court did not issue its ruling as expected Friday. Sources said the ruling will be issued next week at the earliest.

—  John Wright

Gay man seeking to re-enlist in Navy says local recruiting office was told to suspend application

John James Coolidge III

The Pentagon has yet to announce that it has directed recruiting commanders to resume enforcement of “don’t ask don’t tell.”

However, a gay man from Plano who attempted to re-enlist in the Navy on Thursday morning said a local recruiting office was notified during his visit to suspend his application.

John James Coolidge III, who was discharged from the Navy under “don’t ask don’t tell” in 2007, said he spent three hours completing the necessary paperwork to re-enlist in the Reserves. However, about 15 minutes before he left the recruiting office, a call came in from a supervisor.

“Everything right now is on hold for my re-enlistment,” Coolidge told Instant Tea early Thursday afternoon. “Everything all depends on the court right now. … I’ll probably call him the first I hear of anything on Monday and figure out where to go from there.”

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court granted a temporary stay of a district judge’s order halting enforcement of DADT. That means the policy is legally enforceable again. But the Defense Department, which on Tuesday said it had notified recruiting commanders not to enforce the policy, hasn’t publicly announced any follow-up guidance.

The stay will remain in effect until sometime after Oct. 25, when the appeals court decides whether to leave it in place pending an appeal of the district judge’s decision declaring the policy unconstitutional. The appeal is expected to take at least several months.

Coolidge said he called the recruiting office before going there Thursday morning to find out whether Wednesday’s stay had changed anything.

“He said: ‘It’s up to you. As of this moment, we haven’t heard anything different, and we’re still going to process you,’” Coolidge said. “I’m glad that I started the process, and I’m hoping that the courts will side with the lawsuit and uphold the injunction and overturn the policy.”

—  John Wright

BREAKING: Ninth Circuit Court Stays Injunction Against Enforcing DADT

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted the DOJ’s emergency request for a temporary stay on Judge Virginia Phillips’ order to stop enforcing DADT. Via Chris Geidner at Metro Weekly, here’s the brief ruling.

This court has received appellant’s emergency motion to stay the district court’s October 12, 2010 order pending appeal. The order is stayed temporarily in order to provide this court with an opportunity to consider fully the issues presented. Appellee may file an opposition to the motion for a stay pending appeal by October 25, 2010. To expedite consideration of the motion, no reply shall be filed.

What this may mean (if anything) for Dan Choi, I have no idea.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Judge Officially Denies Stay on DADT Injunction as White House Continues Down Muddled Path

Gibbs

It's official. Federal District Judge Virginia Phillips has rejected the government's request for a stay on the injunction she issued barring enforcement of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about Obama's position on the policy at today's press briefing.

Gibbs seemed vague, at best, in explaining the administration's path on the issue, considering there isn't one. You can read most of the transcript of the relevant questioning, here.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP



Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright