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June 25, 2011


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kathy a.

here's an article on why there isn't a ballot initiative in california this year. my sense of things is similar -- the court case is in a great posture, money is already going to that court case, a ballot measure would require a huge amount of resources [time + $], and then there is the danger of losing despite the fact that over 50% of citizens now support gay marriage.

equality california , a major group working for LGBT protections, has a number of other legislative items on the agenda, too.

our state supreme court, which i assure you is not the "liberal" court of decades long past, decided some time back that it was unconstitutional to deny marriage on the basis of sexual orientation. that's really something. prop 8 was a response to that ruling, and the current federal court litigation followed.

the 9th circuit asked the california supreme court to give "guidance" on the issue of standing under state law. i don't think the CSC has issued its response yet.

meanwhile, there was a really encouraging decision from the federal bankruptcy court in los angeles last week, finding DOMA unconstitutional. yeah, i posted that before, but the news is too good to resist double-dipping. ;)

kathy a.

the cost of a ballot initiative is really substantial, too -- $1-2 million just for collecting the necessary signatures, and then a very substantial budget for education, advertising, countering attack ads, getting out the vote.

i generaly disfavor the initiative process. voters are not in a position to be well-informed on all the issues, so they often respond to whatever ad appeals. we have gotten a lot of lousy law via ballot initiatives.

kathy a.

in other news from a few days ago, SCOTUS handed a pair of wins to big pharm, one limiting the ability of consumers to sue for damage caused by copy-cat drugs, and the other striking down a state law barring the sale of prescription information for marketing purposes.

here is a blog post by a physician outraged at the invasion of privacy regarding the sale of prescribing information. it has more info about the background, and links.

Joe S

I don't think there's going to be gay marriage in Illinois because the civil unions statute gives all the rights of marriage to same-sex couples. I think the fact that civil unions exist take most of the urgency out of any push in Illinois.

kathy a.

in the longer run and larger picture, joe, there is a problem with the federal government not really recognizing legal same-sex marriages, much less civil unions. that bankruptcy case is one illustration, but i think federal income taxation is another problem area, and things like survivor benefits. in the military, DADT is on the way out, but there are a number of privileges for spouses -- housing, health benefits, commissary access, next-of-kin status should the worst happen, etc.

this is going to be a process, definitely. even in states with really good civil unions, that isn't really enough. it sure is good to see momentum building, though.

Davis X. Machina

What I can envision within the next couple of years is marriage equality becoming the law in a contiguous area from Maine all the way down the east coast...

Maine overturned a legislature-passed marriage equality law via popular referendum (the 'people's veto) less than two years ago.

I wouldn't count on things changing fast or soon up heah.

Don K

kathy a:

I agree the initiative is a pretty crappy way of making laws, but with regard to constitutional amendments, the proposed amendments have to go through the voters anyway, so I guess I don't care whether the repeal of these amendments gets on the ballot through the legislature or through petitions. And in any state with a supermajority legislative requirement for proposing an amendment (MI, for example, requires a vote of 2/3 of each house), there's approximately no chance of qualifying repeal for the ballot through the legislature (I'd say there's zero chance in MI so long as the state Republican Party is a joint venture of the DeVos family and the evangelical Dutch of Kent and Ottawa counties).

It's clear to me that the first priority is to defeat the constitutional amendment in Minnesota next year. The proponents will be well-funded, will lie when necessary ("kids in kindergarten will be taught about gay sex"), and voting instructions will be issued from pulpits in Catholic and Lutheran churches throughout MN, so we have to be prepared to match them dollar for dollar.

I'd say the best next step after that would be to work on an initiative in a relatively small bluish state with an initiative provision (maybe OR or CO) to get rid of the constitutional provision.

kathy a.

changing the subject -- michele bachmann advocates cutting capital gains taxes and eliminating minimum wage as a way to grow jobs. i feel ill.

and this one leaves me speechless: Bachmann said her experience founding and running a pair of mental health clinics qualifies her for the presidency.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

I was -- and still am -- searching the NY Daily NEWS site for some quotes from our local bishops on the marriage question -- and btw, who should be the ceremonial 'first gay couple married' in NY? -- but ran into this. I'd suggest bookmarking it, because if the day is so bad none of these make you smile, you need professional help. Can't make up my mind which is the favorite, though the dog and tiger at #3 is close, and I love the "Yeah, we're a couple, so ya wanna make sumpin of it" expresiion on the lion in #52 (I didn't know Lions came from Brooklyn, but this one obviously does).

Your favorites? (Now back to looking for what I wanted.)

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Still looking, but sad to see an on-line poll on the site that has 87% saying gay marriage should NOT be legalized. Seems as if some group is cooking the votes, and maybe it would be wrth showing up to make things more even.

(Weirdly, this is the question on the Gay Pride Parade article. The same question is asked -- in slightly different terms -- on the article on gay marriage, and that comes out as 84% pro-marriage. Does that mean that the gays read the mariage article and the homophobes read the one on the parade?)

Anyway, our Bishop is setting records for dishonesty and babble that evem the 'permanently confused' Eric Cantor can only match on a good day. Saying 'That there was virtually no public debate on the issue and that the entire matter was concluded in just over 30 minutes late on a Friday evening' ignores not merely years of discussion, but the Diocese' own robo-calling on the question.

But the ultimate head-scratcher is his "The state should not be concerned about regulating affection." I thought that was our argument, not the bigots.

He also tells the priests not to accept any honor given to them by Gov, Cuomo and not to allow any state legislators to speak at school functions. (Now if he'd only tell them to reject the religious tax exemption on buildings and land owned by the Church but not used for religious functions, he might settle NY's budget problems for decades -- but would consistency trump money? I don't think so.)

kathy a.

hi, prup! well, i guess all this is keeping the bishop busy cranking out pronouncements. online polls are goofy, because a small but dedicated bunch can keep clicking, or get all their friends to click.

love the animal odd couples!

Paula B

How about no religious speakers, programs, art, clubs at schools? How about no tax breaks for religious schools, parish houses and expansive properties, camps, retreat centers, shrines, houses of worship and administrative offices? How about no religious interference/regulation of the consequences of that affection as well as other private, health-related decisions, including those at the beginning and end of life?
Now we're talking, Bishop.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Agreed with most of your points, Paula, but as a Constitution-lover, I have no problem with religious clubs -- if student-organized -- or with tax breaks for property used for religious purposes. (Commercial properties or venues wned by Churches -- except possibly publishing companies -- are a different matter.)

I think people are fools for believing in religious nonsense (redundancy) but also will defend their ights to such foolishness, if they don't try and force their beliefs on me.

Paula B

Prup---I see your point about student-organized clubs and I can even go along with tax breaks, but not exemptions. Churches, synagogues and maybe mosques raise lots of money to further their mission, so I see no reason why some of that money can't go toward maintaining the infrastructure of the communities they serve. I think a tax exemption exacerbates their collective belief in institutional infallibility. From there, it's only a short hop to the assumption they have a right to push around non-believers.


Paula, Prup--I say that when politics is preached from the pulpit, tax breaks and exemptions end. For all intents and purposes, there are swaths of the country where my tax dollar (what, i pay taxes? they don't? ) helps finance way too much of this kind of nonsense .

I suppose the trouble we face is knowing exactly when dogma translates into politics. However sometimes it's pretty darn clear, as in the 'come one-come y'all' graphic above.

Sir Charles


Hey -- long time no hear from. Hope you are doing well.

Now we just need to get Corvus out of exile. (I will search for a suitable Hendrix track for my next post or something.)


That is awesome in its awfulness.

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