Friday, August 20, 2010

Exciting (and scary) changes in this world!

I have been MIA from this blog and I apologize. My poor poor girlfriend won't have much material to read when I turn her on to this blog :-( 

The major changes in our LGBT world this month, August 2010, have been around the Prop 8 debate in California...our home state.

Prop 8 is the ban imposed in 2008 by California voters which reads "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." It became part of California's state constitution on November 5, 2008.



After a five-month wait, 9th Circuit District Court Judge Vaughn Walker offered a 136-page decision in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, firmly rejecting Proposition 8.  "Although Proposition 8 fails to possess even a rational basis, the evidence presented at trial shows that gays and lesbians are the type of minority strict scrutiny was designed to protect," Walker ruled. "Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiffs' objective as "the right to same-sex marriage" would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples across the state enjoy -- namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages. Proposition 8 places the force of law behind stigmas against gays and lesbians, including: gays and lesbians do not have intimate relationships similar to heterosexual couples; gays and lesbians are not as good as heterosexuals; and gay and lesbian relationships do not deserve the full recognition of society." (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/04/prop-8-overturned-gay-mar_n_671018.html)



In deciding the case, Walker offered a variety of findings that may be as important as the ruling itself. Among them were the following:
  • "Sexual orientation is commonly discussed as a characteristic of the individual. Sexual orientation is fundamental to a person's identity and is a distinguishing characteristic that defines gays and lesbians as a discrete group. Proponents' assertion that sexual orientation cannot be defined is contrary to the weight of the evidence."
  • "Individuals do not generally choose their sexual orientation. No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation."
  • "Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital unions. Like opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples have happy, satisfying relationships and form deep emotional bonds and strong commitments to their partners. Standardized measures of relationship satisfaction, relationship adjustment and love do not differ depending on whether a couple is same-sex or opposite-sex."
  • "Marrying a person of the opposite sex is an unrealistic option for gay and lesbian individuals."
  • "Same-sex couples receive the same tangible and intangible benefits from marriage that opposite-sex couples receive."
  • "The availability of domestic partnership does not provide gays and lesbians with a status equivalent to marriage because the cultural meaning of marriage and its associated benefits are intentionally withheld from same-sex couples in domestic partnerships."
  • "Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages."
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/04/prop-8-overturned-gay-mar_n_671018.html)

Judge Walker then issued a temporary one week "stay" on the previous ruling to allow both sides to present their cases against why his ruling should not take affect immediately.



On August 16, 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the Proposition 8 proponents’ motion to stay U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision, which means that same-sex couples in California will not be able to marry while the case is on appeal. However, the Ninth Circuit put the appeal on a fast track and specifically directed the Prop 8 proponents to address “why the appeal should not be dismissed for lack of Article III standing” in their opening brief. That means that the Court will consider whether the decision can be appealed at the same time that it is considering whether Judge Walker’s decision that Prop 8 violates the federal constitution is legally correct. (http://www.nclrights.org/site/PageServer?pagename=press_NinthCircuitRulingonPerry081610)

My personal take on all this??  IT WILL NOT STOP ME FROM LOVING WHO I LOVE OR MOVING FORWARD WITH OUR LOVING GESTURE OF UNITING ME AND MY SAME-SEX PARTNER!!!  GIVE ME A LICENSE OR NOT...NO ONE VALIDATES MY RELATIONSHIP MORE THAN I DO! :-)



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