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Court blocks broadcast of same-sex marriage trial

Original post made on Jan 14, 2010

The U.S. Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote today blocked a proposed limited broadcast of a federal trial in San Francisco on the constitutionality of California's ban on same-sex marriage.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 13, 2010, 4:36 PM

Comments (58)

Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 14, 2010 at 8:31 am

I don't understand why people feel so strongly one way or the other whether gay unions can be called "marriage."

If gays want to get married, so what? What's the big deal?

On the other hand, if gay unions are not called marriage, again, so what? As long as they have equal rights (which they do under California law), why does it matter?


Posted by Ray, a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 14, 2010 at 8:55 am

The real answer is for the government (every part of it) to get out of the marriage business. There should be NO laws regulating marriage including the need to get a marriage license. The tax code needs to be changed to reflect this - no marriage penalty, no single penalty, no penalty for anything.

It will be rather hard to break specific laws if they don't exist. Less government is best government!


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 14, 2010 at 9:42 am

If the majority of people want their government to be in the marriage business, why shouldn't they be allowed to have that continue?


Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Jan 14, 2010 at 11:28 am

Same gender couples don't have all the same rights/priveleges as opposite gender married couples. I'm not familiar with how large the divide is, but I know if one same gender partner dies, the other is not entitled to their Social Security benefits which is an option for married, opposite gender couples (you get to pick whether to receive your own benefits, or your spouse's if their benefits are higher).


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 14, 2010 at 11:54 am

Diane, you're right. Same gender couples do not enjoy the same rights (or obligations) under federal law as heterosexual married couples. Social security is just one example that's an injustice. There are many others that come to mind: immigration, estate tax, Marital Communications Privilege in federal court, etc. Those should all be corrected under federal law.

But allowing same gender couples the right to call their unions "marriage" under California law won't change those injustices, right?

Why can't gays be satisfied with civil unions under California law? Just asking.


Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Jan 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm

True, whether we call it "marriage" or not will not right that specific federal issue. I'm actually fine with changing "marriage" to "civil union" provided it is across the board and includes straight couples. Maybe we can all have civil unions if it seems equal.

I'm not sure of the answer to your question on why non-hetero couples are not satisfied with the status quo, I just have my own thoughts as a hetero woman. I did once ask my sister (who is a lesbian) her take, and her comment was that as a little girl she dreamed of a wedding and being married - not of a civil union and being a domestic partner. She didn't consider it separate but equal.


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 14, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Does your sister think we should undermine the will of the majority of Californians who want to keep marriage as is, just so your sister can have a same-gender dream wedding?

If my dream is to drive wherever I wish, including on other people's property, should I be allowed to do it, even though a majority of people don't want me to?


Posted by Ray, a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 14, 2010 at 2:39 pm

According to spcwt, if the majority of people want their government to be in the (fill in the blank) business, why shouldn't they be allowed to have that continue?

Rather a slippery slope isn't it? What if we fill in the blank like this:

"If the majority of people want their government to be in the business of killing Jews, why shouldn't they be allowed to have that continue?"


Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Jan 14, 2010 at 3:01 pm

spcwt, that's an interesting jump from wanting to marry the person you love (regardless of gender) to wanting to vandalize someone else's property. I thought your question was genuine (per the "I'm just asking" comment) and wasn't aware that you have that chip on your shoulder. How charming.

No, my sister would not want to allow others to vandalize property or hurt others in any way. I believe she would say that by marrying her partner of 27 years, she would not be affecting your choice to marry who you love.

However, she is used to accepting what is - when voters voted for Prop 8 she accepted that and continues to lover her partner as before.


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville
on Jan 14, 2010 at 3:10 pm

spc:

Regarding your original inquiry about "what's in a name," here's how the CA Supreme Court addressed that subject -- esentially saying that labels do matter:

"Whether or not the name "marriage," in the abstract, is considered a core element of the state constitutional right to marry, one of the core elements of this fundamental right is the right of same-sex couples to have their official family relationship accorded the same dignity, respect, and stature as that accorded to all other officially recognized family relationships.

The current statutes — by drawing a distinction between the name assigned to the family relationship available to opposite-sex couples and the name assigned to the family relationship available to same-sex couples, and by reserving the historic and highly respected designation of marriage exclusively to opposite-sex couples while offering same-sex couples only the new and unfamiliar designation of domestic partnership — pose a serious risk of denying the official family relationship of same-sex couples the equal dignity and respect that is a core element of the constitutional right to marry.

This court's conclusion in [the]"Perez" [case] (citations), that the statutory provision barring interracial marriage was unconstitutional, undoubtedly would have been the same even if alternative nomenclature, such as "transracial union," had been made available to interracial couples."

Would ytou be in favor of calling inter-racial marriages (which might include the President's own, since he's a self-described "mutt") "trans-racial unions?"


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 14, 2010 at 3:14 pm

It is not a slippery slope at all. We have the constitution to safeguard our civil rights, and prevent us from sliding down that slippery slope.

The government is prohibited from doing anything that is unconstitutional. "Killing Jews" would violate the 5th and 14th Amendments (as well as federal and state law), therefore the government legally couldn't do it.

On the other hand, undermining majority rule causes people to lose faith in democracy and undermines the constitution.


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 14, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Diane, I am not trying to make things personal, nor do I have a "chip on my shoulder" as you say. I wish your sister and her partner nothing but happiness. If the majority of Californians decide that same-gender unions should be called "marriage," I hope she gets married if that is her desire.

Tom, the "dignity and respect" argument raised by the court seems to fall flat in my view. Civil unions have a great deal of dignity and respect in this state both under the law and socially. Civil unions are open to both same sex and heterosexual couples. Many people, both gay and straight, opt for civil unions as a matter of personal preference. There is nothing dehumanizing about the term "civil union" as there would be for a term such as "trans-racial unions."

Same sex unions do not need to use the term "marriage" to have dignity.

Does an African American need the right to call himself a Caucasian in order to have dignity? Of course not. Nor does a woman need the right to call herself a man in order to have equal rights, dignity, and respect.


Posted by Just so you know, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 14, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Just so you know is a registered user.

Why should this ruling surprise us? Growing up in the South, I learned that bigots enjoy hiding - whether it be underneath a white sheet and pointy hat with eyeholes or by suing to block this trial from being televised. If you're not ashamed of your views then you should be proud to openly state your opinion.

Whenever conducting business I routinely check the list of folks who donated to support Prop 8 and I don't give them my money. Fired my pest control company, which is based in Walnut Creek, when I realized they donated money to support Prop 8. Great thing about America is that the pest control company was free to donate money to Prop 8 and I'm free to find a more suitable company worthy of my money.

But in poetic justice Doug Manchester is getting divorced after 40 years of marriage. And, whew, he's mean. He's tried every trick in the book to leave his wife broke and squirming. Great example of those who support Prop 8.

And for those who support Prop 8 why don't you support the initiative to ban divorce? Oh, that's right because it's heterosexuals who coined the phrase, "starter marriage". How lovely.


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 14, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Dear "Just So You Know,"

Is everyone who supported Prop. 8 a bigot? Is the rationale that they supported Prop. 8 on religious grounds unsupportable? Is it narrow minded and judgmental to immediately fire a pest control provider because they have a different religious view than you?

I'm not a Prop. 8 apologist. Just wondering if you have thoroughly thought through your views.


Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Jan 14, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Spcwt, your comment regarding two people of the same gender entering into marriage rather than civil union and making that analagous to vandalizing property speaks volumes. I don't trust your "just wondering" question to "just so you know" - who is likely aware of your hidden agenda.

Tom C. - glad to see you posting. You put things much better than I do.


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville
on Jan 14, 2010 at 5:49 pm

spc: so "the 5th and 14th amendments protect (y)our rights," but not those of gay Americans? How's that work?

The body of the Constitution established majority rule on legislative matters, but its Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment were enacted precisely to protect the interests of individual Americans -- and groups who will never constitute a majority -- against the tyranny of the majority with respect to certain fundamental rights. Among those rights is the right to marry.

As you probably know, the lowest standard of review for treating folks differently is the "rational basis" test, which provides that the government must at least have one for its action to pass muster. Using that test, the Supremes overturned an anti-gay referendum in Colorado -- based on its evident, irrational, discriminatory purpose. (Romer v. Evans). Loving v. Virginia on inter-racial marriager, and other, more recent rulings have also suggested that the door is at least ajar for gay Americans to seek equality before the law on other important social matters, as well.

This is clearly one of the most important social policy issues the legal system will process in the next few years -- on that basis, I wish we could watch. Too bad Judge Walker let the Supremes hide behind that procedural matter in continuing their general hostility to video.


Posted by Just so you know, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 14, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Just so you know is a registered user.

spcwt - As I said, the great thing about America is that the pest control company is free to donate money to whomever and I'm free to fire them for it. Nice try at baiting and trolling, though.


Posted by Just so you know, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 14, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Just so you know is a registered user.

spcwt - By the way, I also fired my dentist. Again, he's free to donate money to whomever and thankfully I'm still given the freedom to fire him and use someone else.


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville
on Jan 15, 2010 at 6:59 am

spc: you are in the wrong group to opine about the "dignity and respect" accorded to civil unions -- especially since it is abundantly clear that your alleged early curiosity in this thread was expressed under false pretenses. I do not believe you are being candid in the above expression, either. And given the choice, I think I'll go with the unanimous view of the CA Supreme Court on this one (most of whom are Republican appointees, btw) -- rather than some anonymous, demonstrated troll on the web.

Domestic unions are a halfway measure, a political expedient in the transition from no-rights to full-rights -- kind of like "don't ask/don't tell" in the military. They are not good enough, because they continue to legally classify folks as different, based on irrational premises. It's like saying: "we're still going to have separate drinking fountains for blacks and whites -- but we'll try to make sure that the black fountains are nearly as good as the whites-only fountains." If you see no stigma there, then no amount of persuasion will help you.

Further, your analogy of same-sex marriage to trespass is misplaced, since other people's marriages have utterly no effect on your own (as if marriage was a property right, anyway). In your property rights sandox, a better analogy would be your attempt to keep other people from having the right to freely buy or rent Their Own property, based on some immutable characteristic with which you disagree -- maybe it's Italians you dislike, or Jews, or women, or Asians. You may claim it will affect your property value, but 1 -- it won't, and 2 -- it violates the very American principle of equality before the law.

We're just substituting-in a different group whose members seek full social participation, despite many, many years of approbrium heaped upon them. You would do well, methinks, to admire their courage to stand and be counted, since they are one of the few minorities who could choose to stay in the closet to make their lives expediently easier, and keep you comfortable in your bubble.


Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Jan 15, 2010 at 8:32 am

Gunslinger - though I suspect your post will be short lived as you have once again violated terms of use (and I can't do justice to your inane rambling as well as Tom so I'll let him respond if he cares to) but I must say that I find it amusing that you bring up whether you could marry your dog so s/he can get your social security (in your case, if the dog would have you I say go for it) and go on to refer to yourself as a "normal" person.

I think I just may laugh all day.


Posted by Dawn, a resident of Alamo
on Jan 15, 2010 at 8:36 am

As an aside - this piece appeared in today's Wall Street Journal:

Web Link

Perhaps civil unions would be the better, more fiscally prudent bet for everyone.


Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Jan 15, 2010 at 9:10 am

Tom - yes, you are right. There are posts better left alone lest we give them credibility where none is warranted. Thanks for contributing your thoughts and humor anyway.

Dawn - Stephen Moore is extremely one sided and often misleading regarding his opinions in WSJ, though I agree that if civil unions are the only option for same gender couples - then civil unions for all. I wonder how those who are married who state civil unions are the same as marriage (so why bother to change...) would feel about that change in status.


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 15, 2010 at 9:27 am

Was it really necessary to call me a "troll"? Would it be okay to avoid personal attacks? Can't people have a rational discussion without saying derogatory comments, such as that I am living in a "bubble" or that I'm making comments under "false pretenses"? I also didn't say gay unions were akin to "vandalism." Personally, I would support gay marriage if that is what the majority of Californians want.

I don't think the CA Supreme Court ruled "unanimously" about whether civil unions afford dignity and respect. Wasn't "In Re Marriages," (the decision that provoked Prop. 8) a split decision? Didn't 3 of the 7 justices disagree with the majority's interpretation? That fact seems to be lost in the media and in discussions generally.

The "In Re Marriages" case raised the standard of review for statutes based on sexual orientation from "rational basis" to "strict scrutiny." This was a huge win for the gay community. It provides the highest level of review a court can impose, traditionally reserved for race-based statutes.

Nevertheless, when the CA Supreme Court reviewed Prop. 8 with this highest "strict scrutiny" level of review, they ruled in a unanimous opinion that reserving the term "marriage" for heterosexual unions was not demeaning to gays, that same sex unions had all the rights and privileges under California law as heterosexual married couples, and that there was no compelling reason that same sex unions must be labeled "marriage." And that's why Prop. 8 is currently the law.

This contrasts greatly with the anti-gay legislation in Colorado and elsewhere that you mentioned, which continues to be struck down by the courts. Legislation specifically designed to hurt gays, like "don't ask don't tell" should be abolished.

No doubt, there are many Prop. 8 supporters who are bigots. But there are a great many who supported Prop. 8 out of a sincere religious belief about marriage. While I am not religious, I respect their views.

It would seem bigoted to fire a dentist due to their religious views.

Finally, the race-based "separate but equal drinking fountains" analogy would carry a great deal of weight if reserving the marriage label for heterosexual unions really did hurt gays and dehumanize them. But it doesn't.

Civil unions grant gays all the substantive rights that heterosexual married couples have, including hospital visitation of partners, making life & death decisions, state tax benefits, inheritance, pension and other benefits, health care benefits, parental consents, the right to adopt children and it is illegal to discriminate against gays in adopting children and to make parental decisions in raising children in their civil unions. Absolutely no legal rights were taken under California law with Prop. 8 other than the right to call gay unions "marriage."

How is it dehumanizing to gays to reserve the "marriage" label for heterosexual couples only? Isn't it simply a description? Is it dehumanizing to label someone "African American"? Is it dehumanizing to reserve the "senior citizen" label for people over 65? Is the only way to achieve equality to remove all labels from society?


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville
on Jan 15, 2010 at 10:30 am

1 -- In my understanding, an internet "troll" is simply a term for someone who posts disingenuously. Wear it.

2 -- Although you may be correct on the majority in the original "marriages" cases, your interpretation of the second decision upholding Prop 8 -- itself a constitutional amendment, is quite bizarre. Please cite your sources for your interpretation. In my understanding, that decision is limited to the rather dry and limited constitutional principle that the Court was powerless to overturn Prop 8, considering it an "amendment" rather than a "revision" to the state constitution. As Chief Justice George said during oral argument: "It's way too easy to amend the CA Constitution." I think he's right, because of the difference between mere legislation and fundamental Constitutional protections. But -- that's what we're stuck with, hence the current lawsuit.

As to the dehumanizing effects of separate-but-equal (which is your argument stripped to its essence), that's pretty well-settled law and policy. In addition to the completely sufficient argument that separate is inherently unequal, there are, for example, over 1000 federally-granted rights that married couples enjoy, that are denied to participants in a civil union. It's quite easy to say that other people's rights don't matter; it's a Lot harder to be correct about that proposition.

BTW -- can you name me one heterosexual couple in CA that has chosen union over marriage? If they're equivalent, then logic would suggest that growing and eventually equivalent numbers of us breeders would be choosing that institution. You might ask yourself why that is demonstrably Not the case.

Gunnie: there is a huge difference between calling someone a general purpose epithet like the ones you may be used-to, and one that is associated with a stereotype. But you're right -- you've won -- to quote the eminent scholar F. Bueller: "It's over. Go home."


Posted by Gina Channell-Allen, a resident of Danville
on Jan 15, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Gina Channell-Allen is a registered user.

Please review the terms of use on this site and keep the conversation civil.


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 15, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Tom, I'm not a troll. Seriously. I even watched the movie "Milk" and liked it ;). Loved seeing vintage SF of my youth. I have plenty of gay friends and a gay cousin who can attest that I am not a secret troll. I just refuse to go along lock-step with people who can't support their views. That goes for those both for and against Prop. 8.

I started the discussion by saying that I don't understand why people feel so strongly one way or the other whether gay unions can be called "marriage" and I have maintained that position all along. I disagree just as much with Prop. 8 supporters, and feel they have not presented a compelling case why the term "marriage" should be reserved for hetro couples. If there is a God, I can't imagine he (or she) cares about labels. To me, either way, it's just a label. What's the big deal, so long as everyone enjoys their constitutional rights?

And gay unions do enjoy all their constitutional rights, except the right to use the "marriage" label. The CA Supreme Court said as much on p. 92 – 93 of the Strauss v. Horton ruling on Prop. 8. Read for yourself what the court said:

To begin with, although petitioners describe Proposition 8 as "eliminating" or "stripping" same-sex couples of a fundamental constitutional right, as we have explained above that description drastically overstates the effect of Proposition 8 on the fundamental state constitutional rights of same-sex couples. As demonstrated, Proposition 8 does not eliminate the substantial substantive protections afforded to same-sex couples by the state constitutional rights of privacy and due process as interpreted in the majority opinion in the Marriage Cases, supra, 43 Cal.4th 757. Rather, same-sex couples continue to enjoy the same substantive core benefits afforded by those state constitutional rights as those enjoyed by opposite-sex couples — including the constitutional right to enter into an officially recognized and protected family relationship with the person of one's choice and to raise children in that family if the couple so chooses — with the sole, albeit significant, exception that the designation of "marriage" is, by virtue of the new state constitutional provision, now reserved for opposite-sex couples. Similarly, Proposition 8 does not by any means "repeal" or "strip" gay individuals or same-sex couples of the very significant substantive protections afforded by the state equal protection clause either with regard to the fundamental rights of privacy and due process or in any other area, again with the sole exception of access to the designation of "marriage" to describe their relationship. Thus, except with respect to the designation of "marriage," any measure that treats individuals or couples differently on the basis of their sexual orientation continues to be constitutionally "suspect" under the state equal protection clause and may be upheld only if the measure satisfies the very stringent strict-scrutiny standard of review that also applies to measures that discriminate on the basis of race, gender, or religion.

Here's a link to the case:

Web Link


Posted by Lynda, a resident of Danville
on Jan 15, 2010 at 2:10 pm

spcwt: "Is the rationale that they supported Prop. 8 on religious grounds unsupportable?"

It is, if the expression of those religious views imposes upon the rights and religious views of another, which is, of course, the basis of the very foundation of our nation. Not everyone has the same religious views, and not every Christian subscribes to the same interpretation of the scriptures. By refusing gays the right of marriage, we are refusing their right to comply with the requirements of their faith. The argument I always hear is that, "If their church approves of their marriages, they can still be 'married' in their church, if not legally married according to the state." OK, then in all fairness, the same should apply to hetero couples. We shouldn't even be discussing religious beliefs in the same conversation as state law.


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 15, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Lynda,

Very good point. As I understand it, your point is, denying a gay couple the right to marry might prevent that couple from complying with the requirements of their faith. I love it. I'll have to spring that on my religious friends and watch them squirm. ;) Of course, you already provided a way out in your response, noting that nothing prevents a gay couple from getting married in their church.

I must disagree with your point about not discussing religion in the context of state law, however. Most of our laws have their origins in religious law. There is nothing in the Establishment Clause of the Constitution to prevent religion from being considered in the debates that shape our laws. We're surrounded by all manner of religious people. Might as well accept that fact.


Posted by just so you know, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Denying a gay couple the right to marry discriminates against their children. My partner and I have four children - two adopted and two through a surrogate. We are their parents. Why should my children be denied the right to have their parents legally married? (Fortunately, we did get married when it was legal.)

More importantly though - who CARES what God, Jesus, the Bible, Marco Polo, Ronald McDonald, Buddha, or Mohammed has to say about homosexuality? If we base the laws of our land on the Bible, then we're no better than the Muslim countries that folks in our country are always complaining about.

Additionally, if I have to live by Leviticus, then ladies you gotta live by Deuteronomy. Read what it says we should do to women who are not virgins when they marry. I have some rocks in my backyard if you'd like to borrow them.

Based on Pat Robertson's comments about Haiti, I really prefer not to model our laws around his version of Christianity. I much prefer the version of Christianity put forth by my Church. Oh, yes. I attend Church every Sunday - even when on vacation. Was baptized at birth and all four of my children are baptized. But, I don't presuppose to force my religion upon non-believers via the laws of my government.

When I see folks rally around banning the one thing that truly destroys families and children - DIVORCE - then I'll believe all this slop about protecting the family and children. Until they start banning divorce then this talk of protecting children is nothing more than pig slop. Heterosexual parents who divorce do far more damage to children than homosexual marriage ever will.


Posted by just so you know, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 15, 2010 at 3:49 pm

spcwt - I never called you a troll, perhaps someone else did. I believe you are baiting and trolling. But, trolling does not make you a troll. Sometimes, it's fun to troll - just to see the nuts who will come out of the woodwork. Shake a tree hard enough and a certain number of nuts will fall out.


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 15, 2010 at 4:13 pm

"Just So You Know,"

Hey, thanks for not calling me a troll! ;) It's nice when people are civil.

I agree with everything you say. Very funny! God save us from the Bible thumpers and other religious fanatics. Wasn't that comment by Pat Robertson about Haiti idiotic? Just think, he used to be a major Republican presidential candidate. When will Republicans get their act together?

Good point that denying a gay couple the right to marry discriminates against their children. Good for you & your partner getting married before that was shut down. But of course, the only thing that's denied kids whose parents can't marry is the right to use the marriage label in describing their parents' relationship. They must instead refer to it as a civil union. They have all other substantive rights under state law, so they're not denied equal protection or due process under California law.

Discrimination, per se, of course is found in countless places in the law and is part of any legal system. It's only unlawful discrimination that is rejected by the courts, such as that based on suspect classifications like race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc., when such classification doesn't serve a compelling state interest and that treatment is rationally related and necessary to serve that interest.


Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Jan 15, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Just so you know - this is no doubt a very personal question so feel free to decline a response, but this comment (along with most) of spcwt doesn't feel right:

"But of course, the only thing that's denied kids whose parents can't marry is the right to use the marriage label in describing their parents' relationship."

During the time when Prop 8 was on the ballot, my family stood outside in the rain and cold for hours demonstrating on a Saturday. Next to us was a 7 year old and his two moms. I doubt for him that he felt the only thing his family was denied was a marriage label for his moms (my own 15 year old gave up and sat in the car after an hour - this little guy was determined!). I don't want to create drama where it doesn't exist so I wonder if you have an opinion based on the experience of your kids? Do you feel that because you and your partner married, they benefit in ways other than the marriage label?


Posted by just so you know, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 16, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Diane -

Sorry for the delay in responding, but I wanted my older kids (21 and 19) to read spcwt's comments and give me their opinion. One attends Stanford and the other MIT so they are busy folks, now. In a nutshell, they read spcwt's comment and laughed. They understood his duplicity.

Prop 8, a law designed to treat their parents as second-class citizens, left my kids feeling rejected, hated, and discriminated against.

As they pointed out, how many times have you ever heard someone ask, "Will you domestic partner me?" Most likely - never. The question is, "Will you marry me?" Do you wear a wedding ring or a partnering ring? Thus, my kids feel that two people in love should be able to get married, not domestic partnered.

Luckily, my children do not harbor any resentment or anger towards Prop 8 supporters. They understand that their family is no better or worse than one led by a heterosexual couple. They see us as the same and simply want us treated the same under the law.

My two younger children (3) are not old enough to understand anything except that they have two daddies who love and adore them.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Blackhawk
on Jan 17, 2010 at 12:10 am

FYI to those on this board, there are over 1,700 legal rights in marriage that civil unions don't get.

As pointed out above, I would be interested to hear what hetero couples would do if the state moving forward granted them civil status only.

If Civil Unions are made the predominant agreement between same gendered couples, in both the short run and long run the opposition will work to strip gays of that, look what is happening in AZ right now, and because the governor there says GOD told her too.

Speaking of GOD, two thoughts. Just because the majority voted, doesn't make its right. The US has a long history of votes that disenfranchised people because thats what the majority wanted, that, now are studied in highschools in Danville as wrong and discriminatory. Whatever happens this year, next or ten years from now, marriage for Gays will eventually be legal, and, with that many years from now kids will be taught in Danville schools how wrong Prop 8 was. And, our constitution states that congress shall never vote or enact legislation that is influenced by religion in any way, shape or manner. So interesting during the prop 8 campaign how people justified their vote on religious foundation, were they aware that yes they are entitled to say how they feel based on religion but such laws are unconstitutional?


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2010 at 10:16 am


"Just So You Know," my comments are not duplicitous. It's unfortunate that both sides on this issue inevitably devolve to name calling rather than maintaining rational thought. Wouldn't it be great if this discussion could be guided by logic rather than passion?

Dave, concerning your question as to what would hetro couples do if the state granted them civil status only, that's what Sweden did. They eliminated the Swedish word for marriage from their statutes and replaced it with a word that equates to "civil union." I recently asked a friend of mine, who is a mayor of a small Swedish town, how it is going (Incidentally, he is gay and was staying with us during the SF gay pride parade). He said it is going smoothly. Most young people there just live together anyway and don't get married. Marriage is viewed as old fashioned and those opting for state recognition of their relationships most often viewed civil unions as preferable to the antiquated concept of marriage. U.S. society remains predominantly religious, however, so such an approach here remains unlikely.

As for your point about 1,700 legal rights married folks enjoy that civil unions don't, not sure where you got that figure. It would not be surprising, however, given the discrimination under federal law. But allowing same-sex couples the right to use the marriage label under California law will not change federal law, of course. As the California Supreme Court noted in the case posted above, Prop. 8 does not eliminate any constitutionally guaranteed rights, except for the right to use the marriage label.

Finally, your comments on the use of religion and God to shape legislation are incorrect. No offense, but it doesn't sound like you've done your homework on that. I would make additional comments on that, but that topic is beyond the scope of this thread. There are plenty of sources on the web and elsewhere that can provide a clear understanding about the separation of church and state.


Posted by just so you know, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm

spcwt - You're quite skilled at attempting to be a victim. Referring to your comments as duplicitous is not name calling. Again, excellent attempt at trolling and baiting.


Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2010 at 8:30 pm

JSYN: Thanks for taking such a thought out approach to my question, and thanks also to your children for their comments. As a hetero female, married to the man of my dreams for almost 30 years I don't feel comfortable contributing my opinion on the affect of the passing of Prop 8 on same gender couples and their children. Of course, I have thoughts on the subject that are just plain painful. That your children don't hold a grudge (I do!) shows amazing character.

Dave, yes - I, too believe that Prop 8 will someday be a shocking reminder of a hateful time when the right to marry was afforded only a man and a woman - and some of them married many, many times. The term "marriage" has lost some of it's luster for me with this proposition. I'm not sure I want "in" given some of the present company. My uncle married 7 times (twice to the same woman), yet some of my family and friends in same gender relationships with the same person for decades are not allowed - somehow their love isn't good enough to join the party. In answer to your question on hetero couples and how they would feel about being "civilly unioned" rather than married - I love being married, I dreamed about marrying someone just like my husband. A civil union would not be the same to me at all. Yet I still feel that if that is as good as it gets for same gender couples, why should my husband and I be treated differently?


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2010 at 9:19 am

It is unhelpful when one side of this debate ascribes motives to the other. While there are no doubt many "hateful" individuals supporting Prop. 8, there are many Prop. 8 supporters (perhaps the majority) who have no hate whatsoever. Their motives are entirely based on religious dogma which they genuinely believe. Faith and fear are powerful motivators, more powerful than hate. I doubt the majority of Californians are filled with hate.

I speak from experience on this point. I grew up in a strict Mormon household and at one time was devout, although I have since left the church. Mormons, like most religious people, tend to associate largely with like-minded individuals. Growing up Mormon, I never associated with an openly gay person and I had a lot of misconceptions about gays. I remember the first time a friend told me he was gay. It was such an emotional blow to me. I was stunned for days. Gradually, I began to understand him better, I was able to meet his partner, and develop a friendship with both of them in a way that was honest and open, fun and real. This radically changed my perception of what I had been lead to believe about gays.

I think gays do a disservice to themselves and social progress by just going down the Prop. 8 donor list and assuming all those people are hopeless bigots filled with hate. Rather than retreating from all contact with Prop. 8 supporters (such as firing your dentist or pest control provider, etc.) gays could make huge inroads by continuing to associate with Prop. 8 supporters and show them that they have no reason to fear you. If they turn out to be hateful jerks, of course, then by all means, fire them.

I believe we are in an era dominated by ignorance rather than hate.


Posted by Dawn, a resident of Alamo
on Jan 18, 2010 at 10:19 am

spcwt -

"I believe we are in an era dominated by ignorance rather than hate."

Not only ignorance, but laziness; a lack of willingness (not ability) to broaden their scope and exposure.

Excellent post.


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2010 at 11:46 am

Even using the pejorative "lazy" is unhelpful.

I don't know that religious folks are any more or less lazy than anyone else. And on the other side, no doubt, laziness was not a factor when JSYN fired his Pro-Prop. 8 dentist.

There are potential negative consequences for either side reaching out to the other, but imagine the possibilities


Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Whether decisions are made based on hatred, ignorance or blindly following religious dogma, once one places their vote they are responsible for their choice and whether that choice hurts others. The rationale that the motivation behind that choice alters the outcome doesn't just doesn't jive.

Please see the post from Lynda above, who makes a compelling statement regarding religion and Prop. 8. I could not say that any better.

I didn't see where anyone fired someone who voted for prop. 8 because they felt that person/company was bigoted/hateful/homophobic/etc. I also feel that I have the right to choose who to do business with based on many things, including whether they vote in a way that hurts others. I'm not interested in their excuses behind their vote - to me, the outcome of their vote is the same regardless of the rhetoric.


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Diane, I completely agree with your view that people should be held accountable and responsible for the consequences of their votes. As I said, I'm not a Prop. 8 apologist. My comments should not be interpreted as a justification for the decisions of the religiously minded, only a rebuttal to your comment that Prop. 8 supporters are necessarily "hateful."

Certainly, you could justify a level of social hubris over the Prop. 8 supporters and hold them accountable. I'm just suggesting that there might be other approaches to consider.


Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2010 at 2:59 pm

spcwt - where do I refer to Prop 8 supporters as "hateful"?


Posted by American, a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2010 at 3:21 pm

President Obama, during the presidential campaign, stated that he was opposed to gay marriages. Does that make him "hateful" and a "bigot", or simply someone who had a different opinion about a sensitive issue?


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Diane,

Perhaps it was a misread of your comment yesterday:

"Dave, yes - I, too believe that Prop 8 will someday be a shocking reminder of a hateful time when the right to marry was afforded only a man and a woman"


Posted by Lynda, a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2010 at 3:24 pm

spcwt: "I must disagree with your point about not discussing religion in the context of state law, however. Most of our laws have their origins in religious law. There is nothing in the Establishment Clause of the Constitution to prevent religion from being considered in the debates that shape our laws. We're surrounded by all manner of religious people. Might as well accept that fact."

Unfortunately, I do realize it happens all the time. The inherent problem, however, is when the beliefs of one religion contrast or even interfere with the beliefs of another. When it comes to letting religious beliefs shape our laws, who decides which religion? I think most would agree that it would be best to leave religion out of it, and make our laws based on what is fair and equal and just for all of our citizens.


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Lynda, I couldn't disagree more. Laws should reflect the values of the communities they represent, and should draw upon the sources that people value, including religious sources, so long as they do not violate the constitution, of course. We're really deviating from the Prop. 8 topic however, so I won't comment further.


Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2010 at 7:52 pm

spcwt: yes, of course you misread my comment (but then, I'm sure you know that). Saying the passing of prop 8 occurred during a hateful time is not the same as calling everyone who voted for Prop. 8 hateful. There is plenty of room for other adjectives, some better left unstated.

Oddly, one of my best friends voted for Prop. 8. We wildly disagree on our positions on this issue (I've known him since we attended the same Catholic church almost 30 years ago). I don't consider him a hateful person at all. I do consider him misguided and I know he is conflicted about that choice. I love that he is open to hearing the experience of others like me and our reasoning behind why we think it is wrong in so many ways. He also never professes to understand the experience of those denied the right to marry or their children, and would never invalidate the impact of Prop. 8 on their lives. It wasn't a decision he made lightly, and he isn't hateful by any means.


Posted by Somnambulist, a resident of Diablo
on Jan 18, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Yawn, snore, and a big bore...


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 19, 2010 at 8:18 am

I'd love to hear your reasoning why Prop. 8 was "wrong in so many ways" as you say. I'm still waiting for either side of the Prop. 8 debate to provide a logical, coherent argument that the marriage label matters.

Civil unions provide gays every single right under California law that married couples have, with the sole exception being the ability to use the marriage label.

Imagine the absurdity of a woman claiming that the only way for her to gain equal rights is insisting that everyone call her a "man" and that she be allowed to use the "man" label. There is no harm in calling her a woman. Why doesn't the same logic apply to the marriage label?


Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Jan 19, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Spcwt: please refer to the many posts above re: the impact of Prop 8 on same gender couples and families, most notably that of "JSYN" and his children. I'm becoming increasingly impatient with the repetitive and disingenuous nature of your "questions". That the marriage label doesn't matter to you is not surprising - proposition 8 didn't remove the right for you to marry the person you love. In order to understand this you would need to step outside the comfort of your own private Idaho and the narcissistic vision afforded by the "if it doesn't hurt me, it doesn't hurt anyone" mentality.

I'm pretty sure that if I responded to your ridiculous analogy my comments would violate terms of use and the post would be removed, so let me just say - are you kidding me?!


Posted by just so you know, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 19, 2010 at 8:03 pm

American - A simple answer to your question, "Yes, it does." And, he's proven his hatred and bigoted views towards the gay community on numerous occasions via briefings filed by his DOJ.


Posted by just so you know, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 19, 2010 at 8:14 pm

spcwt - I'm curious. If you're not being duplicitous, tell me - shall we count on your support to repeal DOMA at the Federal level? As you know, DOMA does discriminate against gay couples that have entered into legal relationships approved by the States.


Posted by just so you know, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 19, 2010 at 8:19 pm

spcwt - Also, if you're not being duplicitous, do you view heterosexual marriages and domestic partnerships to be equivalents?


Posted by Somnambulist, a resident of Diablo
on Jan 20, 2010 at 8:21 am

Snore, yawn, bore.

Yawn, snore.

Why don't you two or three folks meet F2F and just scream at each other?


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2010 at 8:51 am

JSYN, I am not informed enough about DOMA to offer an opinion. I would generally support measures that grant gays equal rights. On the other hand, I am generally against federal interference into state law matters unless there is a compelling reason. I would support federal legislation designed to eliminate all the discrimination gays face at the federal level as a result of being denied marriage under state law. I would tend to think the courts are best suited to eliminate discrimination at the state level, however.

Incidentally, I think it was horrific and tragic how a segment of the Prop. 8 supporters ran a fear campaign, spreading misinformation and outright lies about gays and what might happen if Prop. 8 wasn't passed. I am also upset at how gay people were portrayed in their ads. I am sorry your family had to endure that. It was disgusting.

Diane, it is unfortunate that you have begun to direct your comments at me personally, using adjectives such as "disingenuous" "narcissistic" and "ridiculous" to describe my posts. If you are becoming "increasingly impatient" with me, as you say, I would suggest you simply ignore my posts.

If anyone would care to offer comment on my posts, I would be interested in maintaining a civil dialog. Specifically, I am particularly eager to hear someone explain why the marriage label matters. Who cares if gay unions can use the marriage label? What's the harm? Why not let them use it? Conversely, why is it so essential that we override the will of the majority in order to allow gays to use the marriage label, when civil unions give gays all of the rights that married folks have under California law?


Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2010 at 9:06 am

spcwt: I find it amuzing that you once again managed to try to make yourself a victim in this thread - it's classic.

I'm done directing you back to previous posts that clearly answer your questions that you appear unable or unwilling to absorb.

JSYN is right - trolling and baiting again.




Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2010 at 10:53 am

Diane,

I'm glad you're done directing me back to previous posts, as they contain no sound legal arguments to support your position. The only argument remotely persuasive was JSYN's point that in his view, Prop. 8 was "a law designed to treat [gays] as second-class citizens, left my kids feeling rejected, hated, and discriminated against."

I totally agree with JSYN on this point. Laws designed for the purpose of humiliation, discrimination, and hatred should be abolished. If the court finds that was the intent behind Prop. 8, then I agree it should be struck down. But assuming the court does not reach that conclusion, which is a fair assumption given the sincere religious beliefs of the majority of people who passed Prop. 8, then why shouldn't the law stand?

The rest of the posts contain a lot of nonsense arguments, such as claims that California law discriminates against gays, incorrect understandings about the Equal Protection Clause, Due Process, separation of church and state, and about religion's role in shaping legislation. Sadly, it shows we have a misinformed public that knows little about the basics of how our government works. The posts show candid responses that were enlightening, sad (about JSYN and his kids), emotional, but no sound legal arguments. Am I missing something?


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