California and Arkansas

I have been trying for a couple of days to write something about California and Arkansas and I just can’t put how I feel into words.  When it comes to California, I waffle between “Well, fine, then, let’s do to them what the GLBT folks at his label did to John Rich when he revealed the depths of his wankery and just refuse to work with the folks who organized against this nonsense,” and “Please let the courts fix this.”

But the honest truth is that I don’t see a boycott doing any good.  If you’re willing to take away an established right from your friends and neighbors, I doubt you’re going to be that crushed if they tell you to go fuck yourself.

Plus, if the Mormon church was motivated (and I believe that it was) by a desire to be seen as a more mainstream Protestant movement, we all know that this little victory is not going to cut it.  Being boycotted by folks who believe in justice just provides more “evidence” of the sacrifices and battles they’re willing to get into for Christ.

And double plus, there are Mormons who fought against Prop 8 and there are LGBT Mormons and both groups deserve not to be hung out to dry.

The only other hope I see for California is that their state constitution prohibits discrimination.  This amendment clearly discriminates against gay people.  If both amendments are to stand, the courts will have to interpret the state constitution so that it doesn’t contradict itself.  The easiest and most clear way to do that is to interpret the California constitution to mean that no one can get married in California.

Let them battle that shit out.

That seems somewhat satisfying, though I don’t know how likely it is to pass.

The Arkansas thing.

What do you even fucking say?

The people of Arkansas would rather leave kids languishing in foster car than risk letting gay people adopt them.  They hate gay people so much that they’re willing to hurt children.

What can you say in the face of that?

I just don’t know.

I expect similar measures soon in Tennessee.

15 thoughts on “California and Arkansas

  1. There is already a lawsuit filed in California. According to the California Constitution, ballot initiatives cannot change underlying principles of the Constitution (I for one think equal protection counts) without passing through the legislature first. Prop 8 did NOT go through the legislature first and therefore should have never been on the ballot to begin with. Even the State Attorney General is siding with the lawsuit. A petition was filed prior to the vote, but the courts dismissed it on the basis that now law had been passed yet. Now the law has been passed (maybe, there still technically “too close to call”) and the courts have to hear the case, and there’s a good chance they’ll find the Prop 8 was an invalid ballot measure in the first place. At that point the bigots will have to go through the legislature to get it passed; the same legislature that had already tried to legalize same-sex marriage on their own.

  2. It’ll be tied up in the courts for another reason. There were 18,000 couples married before the vote, so it’s not entirely clear what happens to them now. The Attorney General of CA said the proposition is not retroactive and wouldn’t apply to the already-married couples, but look for that to be challenged.

  3. There’s actually several reasons for it to be tied up in court. The one I mentioned is the only lawsuit currently in place. GoldnI mentions the obvious challenge from the other side (though in pushing for the bill the Yes on Prop 8 lawyers had argued that current marriages wouldn’t be invalidated, but she’s spot on that if the bigots think they can get away with invalidating the existing marriages, they will try).

    There’s another option for the No on 8 side if the first one fails. The petition for Prop 8 (which was signed prior to the courts legalizing same-sex marriage) explicitly said that no existing rights would be repealed by the passage of Prop 8. Since the Supreme Court made it’s ruling between then and the time the initiative appeared on the ballot, it’s arguable that Prop 8 is in fact not the same measure that was petitioned for in the first place. The fact is that Prop 8 now undeniably repeals existing rights, which is NOT what people had originally signed in support of. I think it’s reasonable to question the legality of it on those terms.

  4. My belief is that the proposition’s tentative passage at the polls could work out to be a good thing. Being an Illinoisan, I’m not particularly well-versed in the ballot initiative thing, but if the thing were voted down, couldn’t the fundies just rustle up the cash and run another one later? Having the thing win forces the proposition’s opponents to sue, and a legal overturn of the proposition (on constitutional grounds) would offer greater protection against its resurrection (theoritically).

    The catch, of course, is the political makeup of the courts the case is likely to pass through. If the case runs into a majority of fundie judges, then the proposition will likely be upheld.

  5. CS,

    What you say is true, except for a few things. Had it been voted down the proponents could have possibly raised another measure, but this one passed almost exclusively due to the high turnout of African-American voters (which is so disappointing to me considering the discrimination African-Americans face). All other demographic groups were either almost exactly split or opposed the measure but African Americans voted something like 60%+ for with African American women voting for it 70% of the time!! Though I’d like to believe otherwise, it’s reasonable to suggest that future elections will not see the same minority turnout as this historic one did. Which means that this election was a Prop 8-like measure’s only legitimate chance of passing. Not only that but time is friend to gay folks these days so far as public opinion goes. A later measure may well fail even with a high minority turnout.

    The passage of Prop 8 does give the opposition a chance to sue, but the courts can’t overturn a constitutional change on constitutional grounds. They can only overturn the validity of this specific ballot initiative itself. If they do that, there is nothing stopping proponents from reintroducing a new one simply meeting whatever criteria the courts threw out this one over (which depending on which legal argument is successful, could mean simply starting over, or could mean they’d have to go through the legislature in which case it’ll never make it). So a successful lawsuit doesn’t prevent equality opponents from reintroducing a new measure any more than having it simply fail would. Therefore the court route doesn’t pose any advantage over simple failure. Meanwhile the court route has the potential disadvantage of potentially having couples deprived of marriage rights while the courts wrangle over it (though perhaps a judge could prevent Prop 8 from taking effect until the legal questions are settled), and of course, as you mention, there’s always the chance that the legal challenge could fail (though frankly, i think the argument currently being put forth by Lambda Legal and the ACLU is fairly compelling).

  6. Percentages aren’t all there is to the story, Dolphin. Darkrose explains (at Pam Spaulding’s blog) why the rush to blame Negroes for the passage of Prop 8 is doubly destructive:
    Blame the Brown People = Recipe for Failure

    Simply put, African-Americans only made up 10% of CA’s voters, and it wasn’t black folks who ponied up the cash and put down the ground game for Prop 8. Furthermore, anti-8 activists did a piss-poor job of reaching out to the black community, which (overall) has some well-documented and complicated issues with Teh Gay. I think enough black folks could have been won over had the right notes been sung in their direction; instead, they were ignored (which is the last thing one needs to do with pathological behavior) at a very crucial time. Even had that been done, there is still the obvious fact that the overwhelming majority of pro-8 support came from white people, and the most solid support came from inland California (where white fundies move to get away from niggers and homos).

    To your second point, my extrapolation depends on any legal opposition being made before Prop 8 is written into the CA constitution; it is my understanding that that step isn’t exactly automatic. Also, a legal defeat won’t stop the fundies from trying again, but it does have greater potential to narrow their options than does a mere numerical defeat. I did not intend to suggest that this battle would be easier either way, but different battlefields offer different advantages to different armies.

  7. I think that there is an underlying truth to the passage of Prop 8 that many folks are refusing to acknowledge.

    For all of the vocal openness about the support of GLBT causes, there are a lot of people who are quietly against it. Well, “quietly” until they are inside a voting booth, that is.

    The GLBT lobby may very well wish to sue for reinstatement of marriage rights in California, but I think if they do that they’ll get a bigger backlash against their cause than they want. The GLBT cause has spent millions upon millions of dollars lobbying for equality–far more than the Mormons have spent lobbying for Christianity. I can’t help but wonder if a lawsuit would cost them valuable PR points.

  8. I think we all know very well that a lot of people are against this or that subset of rights for GLBT folks (or, in some cases, for any rights). But what does one do when people oppose one’s rights? One can choose to be quiet, of course, but I’m not sure there’s much percentage in it.

  9. Well, I couldn’t read your link because for whatever reason Pam’s blog is blocked on my work network. But it wasn’t my intent to blame black people for the initiative’s passage nor to argue that No on 8 did all they could to reach that demographic. Ultimately the blame for the initiative even existing in the first place could be laid at the feet of the fundamentalist Mormon church (who aren’t exactly friends to the black community, to say the least) who funded the whole thing. The black vote was only the tiniest straw in the gigantic pile of hay on that particular camel’s back, but I don’t think it’s completely unreasonable to look at the numbers and assert that that was the one that broke it.

    My point was simply that had minority voter turnout been the same has it had been in 2004 with other variables held equal, Prop 8 would have most likely failed (remember it’s technically still “too close to call”), and while I hope that minority turn out remains high in future elections, I suspect it will experience a drop to one degree or another. It’s simply an observation of why the measure would be less likely to pass in a future election.

  10. The GLBT lobby may very well wish to sue for reinstatement of marriage rights in California, but I think if they do that they’ll get a bigger backlash against their cause than they want.

    I don’t think there’s really any choice, backlash or not. When someone violates your rights, you take them to court. If somebody shoots me in the leg, I’m not going to tell the police to let him go because I don’t want to have his mother upset with me.

  11. I don’t think there’s really any choice, backlash or not.

    I think I agree with you here, but I’m just warning you that there will be a cost to it.

    If you’re prepared to accept the cost, that’s great.

  12. The GLBT cause has spent millions upon millions of dollars lobbying for equality–far more than the Mormons have spent lobbying for Christianity

    Not to go off on too steep a tangent, Ms. Coble, but it bears mentioning that what the Mormons are lobbying for is hardly more than a very specific interpretation and application of Christianity, no matter how many people they got to go along with it. In fact, I’d be sure to include that point if I were arguing against the constitutionality of Prop 8. Mormons have every right to abstain from and preach against gay marriage, but if their motivation for inflicting their views on others– no matter how popular those views are– is religious, then we have a serious constitutional problem right there. From that perspective, it was a pathetic and dangerous constitutional moment when Prop 8 was allowed onto the ballot.

  13. I want to give this some more thought, too, but the first thing that springs to mind off the top of my head is that thought African Americans and GLBT folks need movements to assure their civil rights, they are actually very different kinds of civil rights movements, so expecting folks to easily say “Oh well, I didn’t like this when it was done to me, so I won’t do it to others,” is probably not going to happen. But the other thing is that it EXACTLY serves the purposes of the people who oppress both groups to have both groups feeling distrustful and set against each other.

    And it’s easy to understand. Both communities have been decimated by AIDS and it sure is easier to blame gay men for spreading it or black drug users or black men who won’t admit to being gay or whoever than to stand back and ask “Why the hell are people still getting AIDS in such high numbers some thirty years on? Why aren’t kids learning to always, always, always use a condom? Are people able to get the medical care they need to turn this from a terminal illness to a chronic illness and if not, why not?” And so on.

    But those kinds of questions implicate us all, so far better to set the two groups suffering the most against each other and the rest of us can get back to not giving a shit.

    That’s the main reason it is so fucking vital to not allow ourselves to be caught up in blaming each other.

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