Bid to overturn Proposition 8 and protect marriage underway in San Francisco

The trial to overturn Proposition 8 (when a “democratic”* majority of Californians voted to take a basic right away from a minority) as “un-Constitutional” is underway in San Francisco.

And it’s taken very little time for the anti-marriage bigots in favour of discriminating against gays to revive their ironic determination to have courts protect their identities:

The U.S. Supreme Court, acting on an appeal from conservative defenders of California’s ban on same-sex marriage, overruled a federal judge in San Francisco today and blocked video coverage of the trial on YouTube…

Under the court’s rules, lawyers can seek an emergency order only if they can show their clients will suffer “irreparable harm” if the justices fail to act. In this case, the defenders of Prop. 8 said their witnesses could be subjected to harassment and intimidation if they testified in favor of the ban on marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

I say “revive”, because it isn’t the first time they’ve done it:

In October, the justices blocked officials in the state of Washington from releasing the names of 138,000 people who signed ballot petitions seeking to overturn a state law giving equal benefits to gay and lesbian couples. Under Washington law, the names were considered public record.

But attorney James Bopp told the high court that the signers of these petitions could be subjected to harassment if their names were revealed. And the court granted an order blocking the release.

I can’t understand why someone declaring that other human beings are unworthy of the rights they enjoy, and should be denied them by government, might prefer that those other human beings didn’t know about it. It might well be embarrassing. (It SHOULD be embarrassing.) But this is a political issue, and they’re the ones trying to oppress others. Why should a court let them do that behind closed doors? Come on, bigots, come out of the closet.

The other amusing thing was the anti-marriage side objecting to their own advertisements being put into evidence.

I don’t think the anti-marriage side expects to win this one. I think they expect to lose badly and then blame it on “activist San Francisco judges” and hope that the conservative US Supreme Court upholds their appeal.

ELSEWHERE: Prominent US conservative Ted Olsen’s conservative case for gay marriage.

*It’s US “democracy”, so a “majority” doesn’t actually mean a majority of voting-age citizens.

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22 responses to “Bid to overturn Proposition 8 and protect marriage underway in San Francisco

  1. The depths to which the hate-filled religious bigots will stoop to in order to retain their precious ‘rights’ to discrimante and perpetuate hatred towards other minorities knows no bounds.

  2. If they want to protect their identities while speaking up for oppression, I know where they can get some nifty white hoods…

  3. It’s standard MO for religious extremists: call on religious authority in order to deny human and civil rights to others you deem ‘different’. How anybody can associate themselves with such fanatics is beyond me.

  4. I imagine you’ve seen this, but in case you haven’t – here’s some nifty live-blogging:
    http://prop8trialtracker.com/2010/01/11/liveblogging-day-1-daily-summary/#more-180

    Much to enjoy there.

  5. It’s actually linked to in the article.

  6. Well that’ll teach me to check first : )

  7. “It’s US “democracy”, so a “majority” doesn’t actually mean a majority of voting-age citizens.”

    Although it can – depending on whether people want to vote. It’s freedom to vote or not vote – a freedom we don’t have here in Australia. How does compelling people to vote make it any more democratic? If they just submit a blank voting form it is the same as not voting at all whilst avoiding the fine (bit off topic but you are implying the previous prop 8 vote was not an expression of the citizens of Calif’s will – rather big call).

  8. “It’s freedom to vote or not vote – a freedom we don’t have here in Australia.”

    As you note, you do have the freedom not to vote – just cast an invalid paper. (If you’re so much of an imbecile you can’t decide any preference between the candidates.)

    Making you go to a polling booth – which avoids disastrous situations like in the US where they have absolutely no idea how many people will turn up and often have such long lines that people give up – is no more an infringment of your liberty than making you pay taxes or making you attend jury duty. It’s a reasonable price for living in a stable, civil democracy. (The alternative is a much greater threat to your liberties.)

    “How does compelling people to vote make it any more democratic?”

    Because majorities are actually majorities?

    “(bit off topic but you are implying the previous prop 8 vote was not an expression of the citizens of Calif’s will – rather big call).”

    What was the total number of yes votes? What’s the voting-age population of California?

  9. “What was the total number of yes votes? What’s the voting-age population of California?”

    Don’t know – would you be asking such a question if they had voted to your favour?

    Also, I wonder what the result would had been given compulsory voting? We should do the same thing in Australia to prove those polls about the majority of the population wanting gay marriage legalised. It’s one thing to give your opinion to a pollster, another to tick a box in a private vote with no one breathing down your neck.

  10. Pollsters breathe down people’s necks do they?

  11. Cemil, you get that our argument for equality for gay people has nothing to do with whether “the majority” wants it or not, don’t you?

    The majority never has the right to discriminate against a minority on the basis of gender, race, creed, or sexuality.

    As it happens, the claim that a “majority” wants discrimination to continue against gays is highly dubious anyway – but it’s not the foundation of the equality case.

  12. The Pro 8 proponents ran a dirty hate-filled campaign as well, that tapped the fear of everyday citizens. Lies such as gay people will target your kids, “the door’s wide open now” and so on. Thing is, with all attempts to deny equal rights to any group or person, there’s always a degree of hate and fear that underpins their arguments, but in typical coward fashion it will never be openly expressed, always hidden behind sham statements such as undermining man/woman marriage etc. Therefore cemil’s comment about saying one thing to pollsters and doing another thing in the vote booth is very likely to be true for such people.

  13. “The Majority” has every right to expresss what it thinks is acceptable in its own society. Otherswise we are just ruled be elites who dictate what’s best for us (hmmmmm…).

    The right of a man and a woman to marry has always existed. The right of a same sex couple to marry should be viewed as a new right being pursued and not an extension of any other right. I support gay marriage but I don’t want rights to be enacted without popular electoral support. As is the way in democracies.

  14. ““The Majority” has every right to expresss what it thinks is acceptable in its own society.”

    No. It doesn’t. Discrimination against minorities is wrong, whether the majority approves it or not.

    I hate to suggest a Godwin, but there’ve been democratically-elected oppressive regimes before – do you think they were entitled to do whatever they wanted to minorities, so long as the majority kept voting for them?

    “The right of a same sex couple to marry should be viewed as a new right being pursued and not an extension of any other right.”

    No, it’s an old right we supposedly established at least by the 1970s – that of non-discrimination on the grounds of gender.

  15. Protecting the sanctity of marriage?

    As is somewhat visually apparent, those states which have tended to take more liberal policies toward gay marriage have tended also to have larger declines in their divorce rates. In Massachusetts, which legalized gay marriage in 2004, the divorce rate has declined by 21 percent and is the lowest in the country by some margin. It is joined at the top of the list by Rhode Island and New Mexico, which do not perform same-sex marriages but idiosyncratically also have no statute or constitutional provision expressly forbidding them, as well as Maine, whose legislature approved same-sex marriage only to have it overturned (although not banned constitutionally) by its voters.

    On the other hand, the seven states at the bottom of the chart all had constitutional prohibitions on same-sex marriage in place throughout 2008. The state which experienced the highest increase in its divorce rate over the period (Alaska, at 17.2 percent) also happens to be the first one to have altered its constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage, in 1998.

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/01/divorce-rates-appear-higher-in-states.html

  16. Skepticus Autartikus

    Hispanic culture is very conservative and much more family/kin-based than the individualistic multicultural liberalism of white western culture. And California has a huge Hispanic population.

  17. I’m not sure what “individualistic multicultural liberalism of white western culture” has to do with removing discrimination on the grounds of gender.

  18. There is such a thing as equality before the law. How does that apply to gay marriage? Quite simply.
    Heterosexuals have a right to marry the consenting adult they love. Homosexuals are currently denied that right. That being so homosexuals do not have equality with heterosexuals before the law. Quite simple really.

  19. It’s even simpler than that – the marriage laws that specify gender DISCRIMINATE on the grounds of gender, by definition.

    Person A is permitted to marry Person B because they’re a man. Person C is not, because they’re a woman. Sexual discrimination. Which is supposed to be outlawed by equal opportunity legislation.

    QED.

  20. “No. It doesn’t. Discrimination against minorities is wrong, whether the majority approves it or not.

    I hate to suggest a Godwin, but there’ve been democratically-elected oppressive regimes before – do you think they were entitled to do whatever they wanted to minorities, so long as the majority kept voting for them?”

    If you are referring to the Nazi’s then the point has to be made that they were initially democratically elected, but then threw all that out the window and once the war started, any opposition resulted in executions. So the German people were not really electing a democratic government.

    You seem to have little faith in “the majority”. Just because we had terrible experiences in the past does not mean the current population will repeat earlier mistakes. There is no way that I would equate gay marriage with slavery or racial discrimination. Every man of any race, background, social standing etc is able to marry any woman from any race, background social standing etc. For a man to marry a man or woman to marry a woman is not an extension of the previous right but a whole new right in and of itself.

    People have a right to express their thoughts (via a democratic vote) on what they find acceptable in their own society. What is so hard about this concept?

  21. “So the German people were not really electing a democratic government.”

    They were electing someone to discriminate against the Jews, from the very beginning.

    Was that right because it was “democratic”?

    “Every man of any race, background, social standing etc is able to marry any woman from any race, background social standing etc. For a man to marry a man or woman to marry a woman is not an extension of the previous right but a whole new right in and of itself.”

    I’ll repeat my comment above:

    “The marriage laws that specify gender DISCRIMINATE on the grounds of gender, by definition.

    Person A is permitted to marry Person B because they’re a man. Person C is not, because they’re a woman. Sexual discrimination. Which is supposed to be outlawed by equal opportunity legislation.

    QED.”

    “People have a right to express their thoughts (via a democratic vote) on what they find acceptable in their own society. What is so hard about this concept?”

    People don’t have the right to take the rights they enjoy away from someone else. Your freedom to extend your arm ends at the point where it connects with my body.

  22. Prop 8 trial is also being live-tweeted.

    Helen Zia’s testimony shows the hate mongering from those who oppose marriage equality. The usual bullshit about same sex marriage will lead to more child abuse, bestiality, polygamy and so on. And I’m betting this hateful abuse is mostly committed by those who self-identify as christian.

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