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Prop 8 Future & Court Case

Here's an article from Lambda Legal on the next steps in the Prop 8 case.  Sounds like a pretty decent argument to me...but I am of course biased. 

Legal Groups File Lawsuit Challenging Proposition 8, Should It Pass

Legal Papers Claim Initiative Procedure Cannot Be Used To Undermine the Constitution's Core Commitment To Equality For Everyone

SAN FRANCISCO — The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed a writ petition before the California Supreme Court today urging the court to invalidate Proposition 8 if it passes. The petition charges that Proposition 8 is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the constitution's core commitment to equality for everyone by eliminating a fundamental right from just one group — lesbian and gay Californians. Proposition 8 also improperly attempts to prevent the courts from exercising their essential constitutional role of protecting the equal protection rights of minorities. According to the California Constitution, such radical changes to the organizing principles of state government cannot be made by simple majority vote through the initiative process, but instead must, at a minimum, go through the state legislature first.

The California Constitution itself sets out two ways to alter the document that sets the most basic rules about how state government works. Through the initiative process, voters can make relatively small changes to the constitution. But any measure that would change the underlying principles of the constitution must first be approved by the legislature before being submitted to the voters. That didn't happen with Proposition 8, and that's why it's invalid.

"If the voters approved an initiative that took the right to free speech away from women, but not from men, everyone would agree that such a measure conflicts with the basic ideals of equality enshrined in our constitution. Proposition 8 suffers from the same flaw — it removes a protected constitutional right — here, the right to marry — not from all Californians, but just from one group of us," said Jenny Pizer, Senior Counsel with Lambda Legal. "That's too big a change in the principles of our constitution to be made just by a bare majority of voters."

"A major purpose of the constitution is to protect minorities from majorities. Because changing that principle is a fundamental change to the organizing principles of the constitution itself, only the legislature can initiate such revisions to the constitution," added Elizabeth Gill, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California.

The lawsuit was filed today in the California Supreme Court on behalf of Equality California and 6 same-sex couples who did not marry before Tuesday's election but would like to be able to marry now.

The groups filed a writ petition in the California Supreme Court before the elections presenting similar arguments because they believed the initiative should not have appeared on the ballot, but the court dismissed that petition without addressing its merits. That earlier order is not precedent here.

"Historically, courts are reluctant to get involved in disputes if they can avoid doing so," said Shannon Minter, Legal Director of NCLR. "It is not uncommon for the court to wait to see what happens at the polls before considering these legal arguments. However, now that Prop 8 may pass, the courts will have to weigh in and we believe they will agree that Prop 8 should never have been on the ballot in the first place."

This would not be the first time the court has struck down an improper voter initiative. In 1990, the court stuck down an initiative that would have added a provision to the California Constitution stating that the "Constitution shall not be construed by the courts to afford greater rights to criminal defendants than those afforded by the Constitution of the United States." That measure was invalid because it improperly attempted to strip California's courts of their role as independent interpreters of the state's constitution.

In a statement issued earlier today, the groups stated their conviction, which is shared by the California Attorney General, that the state will continue to honor the marriages of the 18,000 lesbian and gay couples who have already married in California. A copy of the statement as well as the writ petition filed today is available a www.aclu.org/lgbt, www.lambdalegal.org, and www.nclrights.org.

In addition to the ACLU, Lambda Legal and NCLR, the legal team bringing the writ also includes the Law Office of David C. Codell; Munger Tolles & Olson, LLP; and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP.



The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.nclrights.org

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. www.lambdalegal.org

Contact: Jason Howe, Senior Public Information Officer; Office: 213-382-7600 ext.247; Email: jhowe@lambdalegal.org

The American Civil Liberties Union is America's foremost advocate of individual rights. It fights discrimination and moves public opinion on LGBT rights through the courts, legislatures and public education. www.aclu.org

Contact: Laura Saponara, Communications Director; Office: 415-621-2493; Email: lsapanora@aclunc.org

Founded in 1998, Equality California celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2008, commemorating a decade of building a state of equality in California. EQCA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians. www.eqca.org

Happy Halloween

From Monsters and Us.

Recycle Your Crocs!

Provide shoes to the needy by donating your worn out crocs.


I like it.

Friends, Oh Friends

It was brought to my attention that people may not realize that I update this journal quite regularly. However, most posts are friends-only. So, if you are my friend, meaning, I actually know you, and you want to see pictures, videos and read my rambling updates, please post a comment and I will add you as a friend.

Happiest Ever

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I love this picture. I would love it more if my son looked more like himself. But I still love it.

Zoo Day

Today was baby's first trip to the zoo - it was with H's whole family - her sister is in town so we went with both parents and her sister....shockingly enough, we still had fun.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


test post. Have not been able to post in 4 days. Testing from different computer.

SCARY Carrots...

In one of the first personal correspondences I have seen from a member of the RMWC Board of Trustees, I found the absolute most ridiculous thing I have heard throughout the ENTIRE span of this coed debacle. She said that she respects people disagreeing with the BOT position and decision, but she is upset by the unacceptable methods being used to show that disagreement. For example, her children were scared by a box of carrots (either mailed or deliverd - she did not elaborate). Are you kidding me? MAYBE, just maybe I could have taken you seriously or respected what you were saying and your position, but you are telling me that you kids were scared by a box of carrots and we should feel bad about that? I'm pretty sure you are the one who should be embarassed by that. I wouldn't go telling that story - makes your kids sound C-R-A-Z-Y.

Homos Bring Down Entire College

Apparently, it is the opinion of a portion of alumnae and parents that the reason RMWC has decided to go co-ed is because the "Alternative Lifestyles" were too visible on campus and this drove away prospective students. Homos - we have done it again. We must now bow our heads and accept responsibility for the death of Randolph-Macon Woman's College.

I suppose the claim by these people is that the women of RMWC are not "enlightened" enough to live side by side with people who are different from them. The women of RMWC like homogeny of thought, lifestyle and physical attributes. RMWC women never want to be challenged to learn to live in a diverse society and thrive with people of varying race, religion and sexual orientation. No sir. RMWC women want an army of "mainstream girls" in makeup and dresses, who are exactly like them. Anyone who challenges the system will clearly kill the system.

I suppose RMWC is the ONLY women's college with a visible lesbian community, thus clearly, the ONLY women's college who would be impacted by such.

So, I apologize to all of you out there. I apologize to the far, far, far larger number of alums who like to kiss boys. I'm really sorry that I (we) brought down an entire academic institution and 115 years of history by kissing a girl.

Edited to Add: I did notice that the primary commentary on this subject was not made by an alum, but a father who has apparently spent an unhealthy amount of time on campus. Only one alum who commented even dignified that comment with an acknowledgement...maybe RMWC women aren't as scared of the lesbos as he would make it seem. Maybe - just maybe - RMWC women as a whole are intelligent, strong and can live and learn from a diverse society. Maybe, he underestimates the women of RMWC by projecting his own agenda onto them. Maybe, just maybe, we didn't kill the college after all.

(Reference: See article http://insidehighered.com/news/2006/09/06/coed - not the actual article, the commentary below.)

Thoughts on RMWC...

As I mentioned before, the RMWC going co-ed thing doesn't sit well with me. I'm trying to figure out the best way to pitch in. Being on the west coast leaves me limited options. I've signed up for a "little sister" so I can support a protesting student, pledged to the legal fund and contributed financially in other ways. I really wish I could find out what is happening on campus still.

I am thinking, alumnae should start writing letters to Sweet Briar, Hollins and Mary Baldwin requesting that they implement a special transfer program for RMWC women who will be displaced by the decision of the trustees. We should encourage them to do it in the spirit of sisterhood and in the spirit of continuing to support womens education. If those schools are able to implement a painless transfer situation for current students, which includes the other schools being willing to transfer the credits of upper division students and offering comparable financial aid to what students are now receiving, the threat of high numbers of transfers becomes very real. And whatever RMWC ends up being called next year, will not recruit enough students next year to cover a high number of transfers.

The administration keeps saying they believe that the number of students requesting transfer paperwork is partly for show. Maybe that's true, and that is ok. Students should show their displeasure an all sorts of ways and requesting transfer papers is very important. But, in reality, we know that making the decision to transfer will be difficult for many and applying for college, even a transfer, is not fun. So, again, I think the alumnae, along with all of the other efforts under way, should begin a dialogue with the other 3 local women's colleges to help current students find a new home, if necessary. And the secondary goal of that is to make the threat of declining enrollment more tangible to the trustees and administration – make the threat more real and one they cannot discount as a sign of protest.