August 4, 2010
By Adam Bink
Column as I see ’em:
- So a number of us (over 200, in fact) waited 45 minutes for Brian Brown’s live chat that was due to start at 7 PM EST, but he never showed, despite asking supporters in an e-mail to come. Wow. Jeremy has some of the awesome chat feed while we were waiting, though.
- But Brian did find time to film a video asking for contributions. It makes me nauseous. Watch.
Here at Prop8TrialTracker.com, where we actually do show up when we say we will, day-in and day-out, at all hours, we could use your help supporting the NOM Tour Tracker, Prop 8 coverage. Tomorrow evening, we’ll be coming to you from St. Louis, MO. Getting our trackers to each stop and getting coverage for you up on this site costs money. Please chip in to support this coverage. Plus, if you do so, it’ll be matched 1:1 by a special $25,000 match from Tom Dolby and Drew Frist, just married last year, in honor of today’s decision.
- Via Box Turtle Bulletin, Liberty Counsel blames the Alliance Defense Fund for the verdict. Circular firing squads on the right are fun.
- Over e-mail, Shannon Minter with National Center for Lesbian Rights- who was lead counsel on the original CA Supreme Court case in 2008- sent this dispatch into colleague Rex Wockner. With permission, he has given permission for it to be published. It’s interesting.
This is a tour de force-a grand slam on every count. The court held that Prop 8 violates the fundamental right to marry and discriminates on the basis of both sex and sexual orientation in violation of the equal protection clause. The court held that laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation must be subject to the highest level of constitutional review, but that Prop 8 would fail even the lowest test, because it is based solely on moral disapproval of gay people. The court made detailed findings of fact about all of the evidence presented and the credibility of the witnesses. This is without a doubt a game-changing ruling. Today’s decision is the most comprehensive, detailed decision addressing the constitutional rights of same-sex couples to affirmative recognition and support ever to be issued by a federal court.
How well put together is this decision?
The decision is meticulously crafted. Judge Walker reviewed the entire record and made detailed factual findings about all of the evidence and the credibility of the witnesses. He also supported his ruling on multiple legal grounds. For example, he found both that laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation are subject to the highest level of constitutional protection, but that Prop 8 would fail even under the lowest level of protection because it serves no legitimate purpose. This is a remarkably careful, thorough, and deliberate decision, obviously written with an eye to presenting appellate courts with the strongest possible factual and legal basis for the ruling.
What’s the impact on higher courts? Why?
The appellate courts are not strictly bound by the court’s factual findings, but they generally give such findings a great deal of deference. The appellate courts also will undoubtedly will give considerable weight to Judge Walker’s careful legal analysis, although they ultimately will make their own independent assessment of what the law requires.
Does the ruling apply only in CA or to all laws that bar ss couples from marriage?
Judge Walker’s decision addressed only the situation in California, which stripped same-sex couples of the right to marry while leaving them with an inferior institution of domestic partnership. He also made many factual findings that are specific to Prop 8. But many aspects of his legal reasoning would also apply to other laws that bar same-sex coupes from marriage or otherwise discriminate against LGBT people.
- Obama’s statement (on his birthday, no less): “The President has spoken out in opposition to Proposition 8 because it is divisive and discriminatory. He will continue to promote equality for LGBT Americans.” Pretty vanilla- kind of reminds me of the one made in response to The Advocate inquiry for a position on No On 1/Referendum 71, actually- but it’s still nice to see. And I do recall the Obama speaking out against Prop 8 back in 2008, and the Obama-directed DNC donate to the cause.
- Some more extensive legal analysis from New York law professor Arthur Leonard.
- A nice comment came in over e-mail to the team here:
I’m straight and have been in a monogamous marriage for 22 years. “A right you reserve for yourself and deny others is not a right but a privilege”. I want the society that I live in to provide equal rights for all. Thank you for your efforts to provide information and help keeping us up to date. You deserve a big thank you for your efforts. I know this is just another step in our journey but it’s worth taking time to celebrate.
You’re welcome. We really do appreciate the pat on the back. And thanks for being a straight ally!
If you out there you like our coverage too, please consider chipping in to keep it going. You’ll be matched dollar for dollar.
- Olson and Boies on Maddow tonight. 6 PM PST/9 PM EST. Leave your thoughts on their interview in the comments.
This is an open thread on the Prop 8 ruling and our movement for full marriage equality.
UPDATE BY EDEN: Kathleen in the comments just posted a treasure trove of evidence from the trial, apparently released today by the court:
Evidence posted at District Court website:
Includes several videos, including this blast from the past — the deposition of the infamous William Tam:
What’s your favorite Tam quote?
UPDATE FROM EDEN: As Adam noted earlier, Ted Olson and David Boies are being interviewed right now by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. Interview started at 6:16 PST.
UPDATE FROM EDEN: Caitlin Maloney, the Courage Campaign Institute’s Data Director, is at the San Francisco rally and march. She says there are thousands marching from the Castro to the Civic Center. Pictures may be coming soon!
And here they are, from rally participant Alan Beach-Nelson, marching with Caitlin and company:
What an inspiring and moving scene!
In the left-hand lower corner of the photo above, I can see Sarah Callahan, the Courage Campaign Institute’s COO, with her child Jack and Caitlin Maloney, our Data Director (in brown). Wish I was there with the Courage team. (I’m actually only a few miles away, but have to stay on the computer to keep updating the Trial Tracker!).
Harvey Milk’s spirit is alive and well. And he was “represented” at the march as well — check out the black-and-white face above the Castro flag being unfurled for the march above.
If any of you have links to pictures of video from rallies happening across the country, please post them in the comments!
UPDATE BY EDEN: News coming in (and pics soon hopefully) from the West Hollywood celebration. The L.A. Times is there and interviewed Rick Jacobs, the Courage Campaign Institute’s Chair and Founder:
Celebrators carried signs saying “Equality Now” and waved miniature rainbow flags. Among the participants was Rick Jacobs, founder of the Courage Campaign Institute, an organizing network that pushes for equality.
“The work is just beginning. We have to change the way people think before it gets to the Supreme Court,” Jacobs said. He said they’re working toward that goal with an online project where gays and lesbians can share their stories. “Gay people and lesbians are great parents, partners in marriage and families,” Jacobs said.
Rick is talking about the next phase of Testimony: Equality on Trial. Stay tuned for more details!