Category Archives: California

A One Image Response To Schwarzenegger’s Hypocrisy

You’ve probably heard by now that former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) admitted on Tuesday to an affair with an employee that resulted in a now-ten-year-old child. This revelation only comes after leaving politics when it can’t hurt his livelihood and after the employee retired earlier this year.

Oh, and after vetoing marriage equality laws in California twice. TWICE.

All day I’ve been trying to figure out how to best respond to this most recent Family Values Lying Sack Of Crap with an R behind his name who couldn’t keep his religious (Catholic, by the way) marriage vows but decided that thousands of Californians shouldn’t even have the right to make civil vows at all.


My first instinct was to swear a lot, but tonight I saw this picture on my facebook wall, and it does a better job than my ranting ever could.

Thank you, Courtney.
Thank you, Courtney.

(But I do reserve the right to swear a lot at a later date.)

Eight Must-See Videos About The Prop 8 Decision

By the time I post this (I’m so lazy) most people will have heard about last week’s Prop 8 ruling. It’s a stunning ruling in both its language and its conclusion.

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The ruling contains 80 findings of fact and a conclusion of law which finds that Prop 8 violates both the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.

Like most people on both sides of the issue, I expected Judge Vaughn Walker to rule in our favor. There was, after all, a veritable mountain of evidence from the plaintiffs and a striking lack of credible evidence from the defendants. He surprised me, though, by ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional because of due process and equal protection. I expected one or the other, but never both. (Truth be told, I audibly gasped when I saw that.)

Rachel Maddow spent three segments on Thursday night discussing Judge Walker’s decision, and one the following night marveling at the decided lack of reaction from the Religious Right. I’ve embedded one below, followed by links to the other three.

Clip 2 | Clip 3 | Clip 4

David Boies, one of the attorneys leading the case against Prop 8, spoke at the Commonwealth Club in San Fransisco Thursday night. In this clip he discusses the history of state-sanctioned, codified anti-gay discrimination and the outlook of this case.

Then there were the Sunday talk shows. David Boies faced off against Family Research Council‘s Tony Perkins on Face the Nation. (You may recall last year when Mr. Perkins wanted the US to side with GWB’s “Axis of Evil” against gays.) Boies took Tony to the woodshed on this one by doing what most TV pundits are trained not to do: He called Tony a liar and then proved it.

Meanwhile, former Solicitor General Ted Olson, the other lead attorney on the case, had a must-see interview on FOX with Chris Wallace. Olson bluntly challenged Chris on his rhetoric and righted the discussion to the true issue at hand.

(Side note: Kudos to MSNBC on their video embedding. CBS and FOX are leagues behind them with the absolute worst embedding capabilities I’ve seen.)

Finally, Jon Stewart talked about the media reaction to Judge Walker’s ruling on the best newscast around, The Daily Show.

So yeah. It was an important week. We have a long way to go, and it’ll extend at least into 2011, but this will go down as a historic decision for the cause of civil rights.

Miss Beverly Hills Thinks Gays Should Be Murdered

Oh, beauty pageant contestants. When will you learn?

Last year it was Carrie Prejean, and it looks like Miss Beverly Hills Lauren Ashley is this year’s model.

They photoshopped the shit out of her face
They photoshopped the shit out of her face

From FOX’s Pop Tarts:

“The Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman. In Leviticus it says, ‘If man lies with mankind as he would lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death and their blood shall be upon them.’ The Bible is pretty black and white,” Ashley told Pop Tarts.

“I feel like God himself created mankind and he loves everyone, and he has the best for everyone. If he says that having sex with someone of your same gender is going to bring death upon you, that’s a pretty stern warning, and he knows more than we do about life.”

In the 2007 documentary For The Bible Tells Me So, Rev. Dr. Laurence C. Keene (Disciples of Christ) says, “There’s nothing wrong with a fifth-grade understanding of God — as long as you’re in the fifth grade.”

I don’t want to be mean, but has anybody checked Ms. Ashley’s school records?

FRC’s Peter Sprigg: We should outlaw “gay behavior”

Today saw the first hearings on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) in over a decade. It was a fun-filled day that I’ll probably talk about in some depth later in the week, but this video needed to be posted immediately.

Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council (a sister company to Focus on the Family) was on Hardball with Chris Matthews tonight alongside SLDN‘s Aubrey Sarvis to talk about DADT. This video should be set to the last thirty seconds of the segment when Sprigg let the cat out of the bag. See transcript below.

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Matthews: Do you think we should outlaw gay behavior?

Sprigg: Well, I think certainly it’s defensible.

Matthews: No, I’m just asking you, should we outlaw gay behavior?

Sprigg: I think that the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v Texas, which overturned the sodomy laws in this country, was wrongly decided. I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.

Matthews: So we should outlaw gay behavior.

Sprigg: Yes. [laughs]

Keep in mind that a year ago, Peter Sprigg said that gays should face more taxes than straight people, and a year before that he went on television to suggest that gays be rounded up and “exported”.

Make no mistake: Peter Sprigg is one of the few anti-gay leaders who actually speaks his mind, and the rest of them are thinking exactly what he says. I shudder to think what he keeps to himself.

Incidentally, I hope someone thinks to enter this video into evidence in Perry v Schwarzenegger, the Prop 8 trial. If ever we had evidence of anti-gay animus being whipped up, this is it.

(Hat tip to Alvin McEwen.)

Reenactment of Prop 8 Trial Released

Producers John Ireland and John Ainsworth have released the first part of their Prop 8 Trial Reenactment, and what I’ve seen so far is well done!

This is our first chance to see what happened inside the courtroom, using the court’s official trial transcript with help from spectators in the court during the proceedings.

See the official Marriage Trial website for a rundown of the parts and players, plus extra commentary from legal experts.

Stay tuned to Marriage Trial’s youtube channel for future episodes, scheduled for release every few days!

NARTH, William Tam, and the Key to Anti-Gay Hate

William Tam, the Prop 8 author who attempted to withdraw from the Prop 8 trial last week, was soundly eviscerated Thursday by plaintiff’s attorney David Boies.

It was rewarding to watch so many trucks driven through Tam’s (and by extension, other anti-gay leaders) arguments, but there was a nugget of information buried in his testimony that I think most people missed. In fact, I doubt that Tam himself caught the problem.

Here’s the complete transcript (pdf) from January 21, 2009, but I pulled out the two brief quotes, both from pages 1939-1940 (198-199 of the pdf).

Q. (David Boies) And do you believe that the NARTH website is a source of objective scientific information?

A. (William Tam) Well, I believe in what they say.

Q. (David Boies) You thought it was better to get your scientific information about this issue from the NARTH website as opposed to the American Psychological Association. Is that your testimony?

A. (William Tam) Uhm, yeah, I believe in what NARTH says.

Notice that both times, William Tam answered a question of fact with a statement of faith. He knew NARTH was an unreliable source, but he wasn’t looking for reliability. Science and truth were irrelevant, cast aside in favor of someone who would pat him on the back and tell him that pursuing his prejudices was good enough.

He’s not alone in this. By design, campaigns of prejudice are based on the gamble that most people will stop looking for facts if someone backs up their prejudice. That’s why anti-gay industry leaders like NARTH (and in turn, William Tam) rely singularly on extreme statements of emotion and fear.

Coming Soon: Prop 8 Theatre

Okay, I wanted to post this separate from the news about the transcripts being released. It’ll either be a great tool or completely useless.

Filmmakers John Ireland and John Ainsworth are currently filming Perry v Schwarzenegger using official transcripts, first-hand accounts, and professional actors. They only have a teaser available now, but we should be seeing more in the very near future.

(I stole the title from amboy00. Mad props, yo.)

My only concern is that the Pro-Prop-8, anti-gay side might be made into a caricature. That could be troublesome. Then again, they’re doing a pretty good job of that all on their own, so I think we’ll be okay.

You can find more information or donate to the production at their website,

P.S. It was my idea first. Too bad they took out the best part…

Official Perry v Schwarzenegger Transcripts Released

It looks like the Perry v Schwarzenegger testimony video won’t be available any time soon, so people are figuring out how to get the news. Fortunately for us, The American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group behind Perry is giving us the official transcripts.

The transcripts are long, but they hold their value is immeasurable. They’re also available nearly immediately, usually the day after the court session. I’ll be poring over these in the coming days, but here are the complete, official transcripts for the first seven days.

Other communication efforts are underway, but none (unless we get the actual video recordings) will be as damning for the Pro-Prop 8, anti-gay defendants.

The Dangers of Desegregation

One of the emerging and familiar defenses in Perry v Schwarzenegger is that marriage for LGB people would damage society. It seems like a dumb defense to me, and one that Boies and Olson are poking plenty of holes in. It smacks of the Majority’s complaints when the US Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation was unconstitutional.

I got to thinking (always a dangerous undertaking): While I acknowledge that there is no 1:1 union between the fight for women’s civil rights and the fight for racial minorities’ civil rights and LGBT people’s civil rights (etc.), there are often overlaps from one to another. Is this one area of commonality? How might our current struggle overlap that of the Civil Rights movement in the mid-20th century?

Lucky for us, there are some fantastic search tools available online, including one to find old news. Here’s what I found from the Milwaukee Journal on October 20, 1955. I’ll transcribe for the search engines, with apologies for the language of 1955. (Click the title to go to that article in the archive.)

Keep in mind that this happened after the Supreme Court had ruled against segregation and Separate-But-Equal laws.

Court Backs Negro BanCourt Backs Negro Ban

Ruling in Florida
Tallahassee, Fla -(AP)-The Florida supreme court ruled Wednesday that Negroes could not be admitted to the all-white University of Florida until a determination had been made whether there would be harmful effects.

The 5 to 2 decision had the effect of delaying integration of the races in the university, and possibly the public schools, for several months to a year or more.

The majority opinion said that the United States supreme court had knocked out segregation in classrooms but that, in line with the high tribunal’s order of last May 31, local conditions must be taken into account in working out integration of the races.

Sought to Study Law
The Florida court handed down its decision in the case of Virgil Hawkins, 48 year old Daytona Beach Negro, who applied six years ago for admission to the University of Florida law school. He had filed suit in the courts after being denied admission.

In Hawkins’ case, the court appointed a commissioner to take testimony to determine when it would be possible for him to be admitted to the university without creating “public mischief.”

Tells of “God’s Decree”
Justice Glenn Terrell, dean of the court, wrote a defense of segregation in an opinion concurring with the majority holding. He said that the United States supreme court in ordering desegregation in public schools had “reversed a decree of God Almighty.”

“When God created man he allotted each race to his own continent according to color — Europe to the white man, Asia to the yellow man, Africa to the black man and America to the red man,” wrote Terrell.

“But now we are advised that God was in error and must be reversed.”

But that’s not all! The next day, the Milwaukee Journal published the following editorial about the Florida court’s decision.

Law (?) in Florida's High CourtLaw (?) in Florida’s High Court

The dean of Florida’s supreme court, Justice Glenn Terrell, made legal history of a sort the other day in an opinion concurring with a majority decision of the court that Negroes could not be admitted to the all-white University of Florida until a determination had been made whether there would be harmful effects.

“When God created man,” wrote Justice Terrell, “He allotted each race to his own continent according to color–Europe to the white man, Asia to the yellow man, Africa to the black man, and America to the red man.”

Therefore, the justice reasoned, the United States supreme court “reversed a decree of God Almighty” by directing the end of segregation in the classroom.

If all that the learned justice asserts is true, by what divine right does he reside in America? By what right, indeed, do any of the rest of us–of white, black or yellow skin? Isn’t it our holy duty to give this nation back to the red man forthwith–by order of the Florida supreme court?

We further wonder whether Justice Terrell realizes that his opinion “reversed” a former governor of his state. Fuller Warren–not to be confused with Chief Justice Earl Warren, former governor of California–often spoke of Florida as the site of the Garden of Eden. If God chose Florida as the abode for the man He created, where better than in Florida should all of Adam’s children live in harmony and brotherhood and equality–no matter what the tint of their skin?

The Pro-Prop 8, anti-gay defendants’ case and the Anti-Prop 8, pro-gay plaintiffs’ response are strikingly similar to these from 1955. The question before us is whether the US Supreme Court in 2010 will agree with the 1955 Florida court or the 1955 federal court.

Also at stake: 55 years from now, will people be ashamed or proud of the court’s decision? The court gets to choose.

* * *

One more thing. Notice that big black box in the first screencap? There’s another article under it that shows again that some things never change.

NAACP Is Assailed
NAACP Is Assailed

Atlanta, Ga.–Eugene Cook, Georgia’s attorney general, Wednesday accused the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People of “subversion” in its antisegregation crusade.

Cook said that activities of the group “and its local fronts pose a serious threat to the peace, tranquillity (sic), government and way of life of our state,” and hinted that he would take steps to have the organization banned in Georgia.

He said that the NAACP’s real design was to “force upon the south the Communist inspired doctrine of racial integration and amalgamation.”

[In New York, a spokesman for the NAACP said that Cook’s speech “apparently was part of a conspiracy” to combat the United States supreme court’s ban on segregated public schools. Roy Wilkins, executive secretary of the NAACP, charged that Cook’s speech was “full of distortions, word juggling, free translations and untruths.”]

For goodness sake, Cook all but called it a Radical Negro Agenda.

Do Gays Really Have Anything To Fear?

One of the themes coming from the defense last week in the Prop 8 trial was fear of LGBT people. Four of the six defense witnesses have backed out saying that they were afraid for their lives if their testimony was taped. (None have agreed to testify now that the court decided not to broadcast the testimony.) One of the Defendant-Intervenors attempted to withdraw for the same reason.

In both cases, defense attorneys have cited youtube comments and verbal reaction to Prop 8’s passage as evidence of impending doom. And in both cases, I cite my tiny violin.

It’s not that I want violence to happen against our opponents. On the contrary, I think our case is better served if they’re left alone. It’s just that the Violent Homosexuals charge is so commonly played, and with no real evidence to back it up.

But hey, it’s not like LGBT people have anything to be afraid of, right?

Unfortunately we know better, and not just from ancient or even recent history. I came across both of these stories Friday morning, even as Prop 8 attorneys were painting us as attackers. The first is from Chelmsford, Massachusetts:

Chelmsford police say they have identified a 15-year-old boy as the person who posted a threatening message on the social networking site

“At this time, it appears to be the senseless act by an individual who failed to recognized the serious consequences that may result from such a post,” said Deputy Police Chief Scott Ubele in an e-mail.

The page, which has since been taken down, is titled “kill all gay people yea,” and has Chelmsford High School students listed as guests. The event was listed as a group trip on Jan. 19 from 6:55 a.m. – 9:55 a.m. and lists “do you hate people that are gay and have a green car?” as a host.

Note that this was obviously aimed at a specific person. While you think about that one, let’s look at this comic strip from Notre Dame University’s The Observer:

Frame 1: 'What is the easiest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable?'  Frame 2: 'No idea.'  Frame 3:  'A baseball bat.'
Frame 1: 'What is the easiest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable?' Frame 2: 'No idea.' Frame 3: 'A baseball bat.'

By the way, the original punchline was ‘AIDS’, but the editors thought that was going too far. Beating with a baseball bat is hilarious, though.

To be fair, both cases have resulted in real consequences. At Chelmsford High School, the administration acted quickly, the police were involved, and Guidance staff were made available to those students who were threatened.

At Notre Dame, the paper gave an (mealy-mouthed, hey-look-over-there) apology, the paper discontinued “The Mobile Party” by Colin Hofman, Jay Wade and Lauren Rosemeyer, and Managing Editor Kara King, who approved the comic strip, has resigned. (For some reason the Editors think this means she has “courage”.)

But in both cases, the damage is done.

Making sure people are fired or punished for this crap should not be an end unto itself. It should be a means of getting the Straight Majority to finally understand that attacks like these have consequences, even when the attacks are “just” words.



(Big hat tips to Alvin McEwen of Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters and Autumn Sandeen of Pam’s House Blend.)