Posts Tagged ‘Prop 8’

Dr. Drew on basic civil rights

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010


Dr. Drew: Prop 8 Tramples on Basic Civil Rights



I am certainly by no means a legal scholar.  Nor do I have any special understanding of American History.  I am an American citizen with a deep appreciation of the brilliantly balanced system our founding fathers created.



Dr Drew



There was a reason they set up our system as a republic and not a direct democracy.  The Jacksonian Revolution started us in a direction whereby direct appeal to the people and direct democracy gained a distinct priority in our value system.


But never did the founding generations expect that we might see the advent of a system where a simple appeal to a majority could result in any whim the majority might decide to assert.


A main concern of the founding fathers was to create a system that was sufficiently balanced and thoughtful so as to buffer against one group exerting its will upon another.  This to them, was nothing other than mob rule. While we retain a distinct preference for the gloss of a direct democracy the fact is we are not and thankfully so.


Throughout history democracies have inevitably fractured and failed.  Even the Greeks felt that a democracy was impossible in populations greater than 100,000 members.  Not only are we so much larger but more heterogeneous making this even more treacherous.


Alexis De Toqueville, a Frenchman who came to America in the opening decades of the nineteenth century to study Democracy in America, in his objective assessment remained very concerned that our system had a potential to allow for something he called the Tyranny of the Majority.  That is to say he was concerned that merely by being a majority one group could exert its will upon another, even restrict its civil liberties and rights.


Unfortunately, the referendum system in the State of California has become the mechanism for actualizing precisely this tyranny. The California Supreme Court determined that the argument against same sex marriage was untenable.


The opinion, written by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, cited the Court’s 1948 decision in Perez v. Sharp where the state’s interracial marriage ban was held unconstitutional. It found that “equal respect and dignity” of marriage is a “basic civil right” that cannot be withheld from same-sex couples, that sexual orientation is a protected class like race and gender, and that any classification or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is subject to strict scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause of the California State Constitution (source: Wikipedia).


In other words it was the concerted opinion of the judicial authority that the logic used against interracial marriage was the same as that, which was being used against same sex marriages. In spite of this very clear understanding of the law and the logic of prejudice, the response rendered by the referendum system with the passage of Proposition 8 was: “too bad”.


Now my point here is not to get into whether or not gay marriage is good, right or should even be included in the definition of what we consider marriage.  My concern is that the referendum system in California can rescind the civil rights of a minority group, independent of the operation of other governmental authority.


Abraham Lincoln famously argued in his debates with Stephen Douglas that there are certain things that the majority simply cannot decide.  We simply could not allow for a majority to decide that it is acceptable to enslave another population of humans no matter how substantial that majority.


He famously quipped that “squatter sovereignty’s” right to determine whether or not a state should be free or slave was based on an argument that was thinner that the soup made from the shadow of a pigeon that was starved to death!  And so are the arguments flying about today to justify and legitimate Prop 8 and the Referendum system from which it was unleashed.


I ask my fellow citizens to give this careful thought.  The protection against the tyranny of the majority has been an important consideration throughout the history of our government and we have quietly allowed, out of our own ignorance and apathy, a very important threshold to be crossed.  A majority has restricted the basic civil rights of a minority.  Beware, it may be your rights next to be trampled merely because there are enough people who think it should be so.


Dr. Drew Pinsky is the host of VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab” and a frequent guest on Larry King Live.



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‘Wicked’Hosts Gay Rights Cabaret…

Thursday, January 8th, 2009


Cast of ‘Wicked’ hosts cabaret for gay rights




Lots of people are up in arms about the passing of California’s Proposition 8, and the cast of “Wicked” is no exception.


Next Monday,  performers from the four North American  companies of the Broadway musical will host “Defying Inequality,” an evening of cabaret performances benefiting four nonprofits that promote civil rights for gays.


The one-night only event will take place in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Louisville.


So, why “Wicked”? Well, one of the prevailing themes of the musical is acceptance, and that’s what the gay community is after too.


 Get more info on the Los Angeles event.



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14th Amendment to the Constitution…

Friday, November 21st, 2008


14th Amendment

Citizenship Rights.

Ratified July 9, 1868



1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.



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LA Board of Supervisors Backs Prop 8 Challenge…

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Emotional Board of Supervisors backs Prop. 8 challenge


Molly Hennessy-Fisk
Los Angeles Times


The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted this afternoon to join a lawsuit filed by the City of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Clara County challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative voters passed by a narrow margin this month.


The vote was carried by the board’s three Democrats: Supervisors Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky, who proposed the board join the lawsuit, and Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke, who voted in support.


Of the two Republicans, Supervisor Michael Antonovich was out of town, and Supervisor Don Knabe left the meeting just as speakers began.


More than a dozen speakers appeared in support of the board’s vote and opposition to Proposition 8, including Los Angeles City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo, San Francisco City Atty. Dennis Herrera and several gay couples. Both Molina and Yaroslavsky, who have officiated at same-sex wedding ceremonies since California legalized them in June, said they acted out of a sense of duty and personal responsibility.


Yaroslavsky pointed out a couple he married who were among those speaking in support of the vote.


“Some of us may ask why the county supervisors would be involved and get so involved in this issue,” Molina said, citing the board’s responsibility to supply marriage license, uphold the law and “balance the enforcement of Proposition 8 with recognizing the constitutional right of all our citizens.” Molina added, “On a personal note, I am here to say that the passage of Prop. 8 saddened and angered me on various levels.”


Yarolslavsky noted that was “a close call” given how divided the state and county have been on the question of gay marriage. He said that he was not always a supporter of gay marriage (he supported civil unions instead) but said he “was persuaded” by colleagues and his children.


“It’s very important for the County of Los Angeles to be at the table on this,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt anybody. It doesn’t adversely affect anybody else.”


*Update: Antonovich had earlier said he would not support the legal challenge. His statement: “The appropriate time to have raised legal objections was prior to the election –- not after the people have once again voted on the issue. This move will disenfranchise voters who turned out in record numbers to participate in the process and have their voices heard.”





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A Message on Proposition 8…

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

A Message on the Passage of Proposition 8
From the Executive Director of Outfest


One week later, the passage of Proposition 8 still resonates in our community. We were poised to join the “more perfect union” envisioned by the Bill of Rights – the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, blatant discrimination was written into the California state constitution leaving many of us frustrated and angry. That anger and frustration is now a catalyst for working together even harder to continue the fight for equal recognition and protection under the law.


For the past 27 years, Outfest has represented and served our community by fostering and screening images that reflect and document the LGBTQ experience. Now more than ever our mission to nurture, showcase, and protect LGBTQ culture has a profoundly relevant purpose in helping to change the hearts and minds of our foes and achieving our equality.


I believe in what President-elect Barack Obama said on Tuesday night: “For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected.”


Outfest, with your help as an audience and as supporters, will continue to showcase our struggle and our triumph. Together we will help to change the discussion, support LGBT artistic expression and ultimately achieve equality.




Todd Heustess, Executive Director



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Schwarzenegger Says ‘Don’t Give up’…

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Schwarzenegger tells backers of gay marriage: Don’t give up





The governor expresses hope that Proposition 8 would be overturned as protesters continue to march outside churches across California.

By Michael Rothfeld and Victoria Kim
Los Angeles Times
November 9, 2008


Reporting from Sacramento and Pasadena — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today expressed hope that the California Supreme Court would overturn Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that outlawed same-sex marriage. He also predicted that the 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who have already married would not be affected by the initiative.


“It’s unfortunate, obviously, but it’s not the end,” Schwarzenegger said in an interview on CNN this morning. “I think that we will again maybe undo that, if the court is willing to do that, and then move forward from there and again lead in that area.”   (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)



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Stars Angry Over Marriage Ban…

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Stars join the furor over gay marriage ban



Melissa Etheridge says she won’t pay taxes because, ‘I am not a full citizen’

The Associated Press
Nov. 7, 2008

LOS ANGELES – Thousands of protesters are angry about California’s ban on gay marriage — and so are the stars.


Many celebrities grieved the passing of Proposition 8 in California this week. Some — such as Wanda Sykes, Rose McGowan and Lance Bass — attended a Wednesday protest criticizing the state’s gay marriage ban. Others — like Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, Samantha Ronson and Melissa Etheridge — vented their frustrations online, on TV, and onstage.


Blocks away from the Thursday rally of more than 2,000 gay-rights advocates outside the gates of a Mormon temple, several stars — including James Cromwell, Patricia Clarkson, Anjelica Huston and Sean Penn — said they supported the protesters while walking the red carpet at the BAFTA L.A. Brittania Awards at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel.


“I think it might be an idea to go out and join them shortly,” Penn said. “It was a shameful decision that was made.”   (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)



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Celebs Support ‘NO on Prop 8’…

Friday, October 17th, 2008

California gay marriage fundraiser reaches for stars


Thu Oct 16, 2008
By Alex Dobuzinskis


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Battling to save the right to same-sex marriage in what is expected to be a close state vote next month, California gay rights backers are turning to Hollywood celebrities for help at a major fundraiser.


Actress and singer Barbra Streisand is expected at the event on Tuesday and singers Melissa Etheridge and Mary J. Blige will perform, organizers said on Thursday.


Supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle will host the event at his Beverly Hills home (Green Acres), with a private $25,000-a-plate dinner. Among other entertainment figures planning to attend are actor/director Rob Reiner.


In recent weeks, director Steven Spielberg and actor Brad Pitt each donated $100,000 in support of the campaign to preserve the right to gay marriage.


The fundraiser comes as backers of same-sex marriage fight to stem a tide of support for Proposition 8, a November 4 ballot measure that seeks to define marriage under the California Constitution as only between a man and a woman.


A poll released last week by Survey USA showed 47 percent of Californians supported the measure, while 42 percent opposed it.


“We’re feeling very good about the surge in the campaign,” said Sonja Eddings Brown, a spokeswoman for Protect Marriage, the group advocating for a “Yes” vote on Proposition 8.


The “Yes” campaign has raised $25.4 million, compared with $15.8 million for those who wish to maintain the right to gay marriage.


In recent weeks, advocates of same-sex marriage have chided the Hollywood community for failing to contribute cash to the campaign to defeat Proposition 8.


But Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, said the fundraiser would show Hollywood’s support for same-sex marriage rights.


“Having support from Hollywood leaders who are visible, who reach a wide audience, is critical to our success,” Kors said.


“It’s always really scary when you’re being outspent 2 to 1 in an election, and when your rights are at stake and someone’s trying to take your rights away,” he added.


In recent days, opponents of same-sex marriage have stepped up their television advertising and warned voters that if Proposition 8 is defeated, children will be taught about gay marriage in elementary schools.


Gay-marriage supporters call that argument misleading.


In California, an estimated 11,000 same-sex couples have married since the state’s highest court in May overturned a state ban on same-sex marriage.


Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and actress Portia de Rossi wed in August in one the most high-profile same-sex unions. Etheridge has said she plans to marry girlfriend Tammy Lynn Michaels before November 4.


DeGeneres released an online video message this week urging California voters to strike down Proposition 8.


Gay and lesbian marriage was legalized last week in Connecticut, bringing to three the number of U.S. states that allow it. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jill Serjeant and Peter Cooney)



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