Tuesday, March 04, 2008

California marriage equality arguments heard before the California Supreme Court

San Francisco – Today Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Therese Stewart with the City of San Francisco argued passionately before the California Supreme Court in favor of same-sex marriage.

“It is a great privilege to be a part of this historic moment for our state and the tens of thousands of same-sex couples who deserve the same fundamental right to marry that most Californians take for granted,” said Minter in a NCLR statement today. “We are hopeful that the California Supreme Court will affirm that lesbian and gay couples are entitled to celebrate their relationships through marriage.”

Minter and Stewart made the case that domestic partnership isn’t equal to marriage and doesn’t uphold California’s Constitutional mandate for equality.

The marriage cases were filed in March, 2004. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer ruled that the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage violates the California Constitution. In a 2-1 vote, the California Court of Appeal reversed Judge Kramer’s ruling. Shortly after the Court of Appeal’s decision, the California Supreme Court granted review of the cases in order to consider the constitutional questions itself.

Counsel representing California Attorney General Jerry Brown and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger argued on behalf of domestic partnerships providing equal rights to that of marriage as well as leaving the definition of “marriage” up to the California legislature.

Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) the lead author of legislation to bring marriage equality to LGBT Californians that was passed twice by the California legislature, but was vetoed both times by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement today that he is “hopeful” that the California Supreme Court will “reaffirm its position from 1948. That year was when it “historically ended its ban on interracial marriage, saying that, ‘marriage is a fundamental right of free men... any legislation infringing such rights must be based upon more than prejudice and must be free from oppressive discrimination to comply with the constitutional requirements of due process and equal protection of the laws.’

“I hope the Supreme Court does the same,” said Leno hoping the California Supreme Court will follow the legislature’s lead. “Their decision in this historic case will no doubt have implications on thousands of same sex couples and their families as well as our society for years to come.”

Del Martin and her partner Phyllis Lyon, the first couple to be married at San Francisco City Hall during the “Winter of Love” and who are petitioners in the case, are hopeful that the court will clear the way for them to get married.

“During our 55 years together, we have witnessed enormous changes in California law concerning lesbian and gay people,” said Martin. “At one time, the law treated us as complete outsiders. Today, the law recognizes our existence, but it does not yet recognize our full humanity and equality. We have loved one another faithfully for more than five decades. We wish to marry before either one of us dies.”

Minter and Stewart were assisted by a team of lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, Heller Ehrman, LLC and the Law Office of David Codell and the other attorneys representing the LGBT community.

2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the California Supreme Court’s historic 1948 ruling that found it unconstitutional for the state to restrict access to marriage based on the race of the spouses. That ruling was the first of its kind in the nation’s history, and is now the law of the land across the country. The California NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc., and Howard Law School Civil Rights Clinic have urged the court to apply the reasoning from its 1948 decision to the present marriage cases.

“California sets the course for the rest of the country,” said Jenny Pizer, Senior Counsel for Lambda Legal. “With its landmark 1948 decision Perez v. Sharp, this was the first state supreme court to overturn a law banning interracial marriages. Less than 20 years later, the U.S. Supreme Court followed suit. The rest of the country and, in fact, the world, are watching what happens here today.”

The marriage cases are among the most heavily briefed cases in the history of the California Supreme Court. More than 20 counties and municipalities filed a friend-of-the court brief in support of marriage for same-sex couples, including some of the most populous cities in California: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Long Beach, Sacramento, and Oakland. In addition, more than 250 religious and civil rights leaders and organizations, including the California NAACP, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, California Council of Churches, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, and National Black Justice Coalition, filed briefs supporting same-sex couples seeking the right to marry. Numerous legal and bar associations, including the Los Angeles County Bar Association, also registered their support, as well as many of the state’s leading constitutional law scholars and family law professors.LGBT Californian’s will know one way or the other The California Supreme Court typically issues its decisions within 90 days following oral arguments.

Catch today’s oral arguments of the In Re Marriage case before the California Supreme Court at

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Hillary rocked it on SNL

“Live from New York, its Saturday Night Live!” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton delivered the signature opening for the 32-year old NBC sketch comedy show standing next to Amy Poehler’s identical mock of her.

Democratic presidential candidate Clinton stepped in for an editorial response after the show opened with another mock debate poking jabs at the media’s favoritism of the other presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

Clinton’s surprise appearance on SNL clearly was last minute when San Francisco Bay Area ABC7 News 11 p.m. weekend anchorman Alan Wang paused for a second and stumbled a bit while wrapping up yet another story about SNL’s jabs at the Democratic campaign debates and Clinton’s pointing out the media’s hard balling her while soft balling Obama. It seemed, in spite of the three hour difference between the New York City and San Francisco, the news of Clinton’s appearance literally just reached him on the teleprompter just in time for the end of the segment and SNL’s opening sketch.

Switch from ABC to NBC, Clinton appeared poised and somewhat relaxed and casual verbally parlaying quips with Poehler over their identical outfits down to the accessories, but like twin sisters or best friends Clinton jibed, “I do want the earrings back.”

Will her appearance on SNL and scheduled pre-primary appearance Monday on
Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" help her at the polls? The answer is unclear, but SNL writer James Downey, who wrote the debate sketches, has the media talking and Clinton grabbing the pop culture brass ring in hope for a last minute appeal to voters. In particular, 30- and- 40- something voters who have switch from MTV’s “Rock the Vote” during her husband’s, Bill’s, first presidential campaign. Clinton clearly gets that we’ve grown up since then but we aren’t forgotten. She wants our votes.

And it’s not like SNL isn’t critical sometimes hitting issues right “on the nail.”

"It's like when the mom is in the grocery store and the kids rush up with this brand new cereal saying `We've got to get it, we've got to get it!'” Downey told
Associate Press Television Writer David Bauder February 27 about the debate skit that featured “a lovestruck press corps fawning over Barack Obama” and not at all lightly pushing, but verbally shoving Clinton with their questions on the stage.

“The mom is the one who is supposed to read the box, check the ingredients. She's not supposed to go, `Oh, my gosh, this is great! It has marshmallows and chocolates and sprinkles," he continued.

But this doesn’t mean that SNL is endorsing Clinton, but pointing out some standard sexism. Clinton confirmed during her SNL editorial response that the show wasn’t endorsing any particular presidential hopeful. To back this up, SNL featured another cameo appearance by former New York City Mayor and presidential hopeful Rudy Gulliani poking fun at his own failed campaign for president on its “Weekend Update” sketch. In a self-depreciating jab at his own failed Republican presidential campaign, Gulliani blamed the dress that he wore once upon a time during a SNL sketch and not on his “solid” Florida plan.

The Obama campaign is clearly seeing Clinton’s appearances on SNL and The Daily Show as signs of exiting the race for the White House. In today’s New York Time’s headline, “
Obama Backers Urge Clinton to Exit if She Loses,” the Obama campaign is clearly indirectly turning up the heat on Clinton.

But the Times is one media outlet that isn’t so awestruck over Obama to take the bait of his charm and charisma to shove Clinton off the ballot. While the headline for Times reporter Brian Knowlton’s article screamed Obama supporters pressure on Clinton, the Times reported, in the same article, the race is still too close to write off Clinton.

Polls show that “Texas a virtual toss-up, while Ohio voters narrowly favor her. In the smaller states, Mrs. Clinton holds a lead in Rhode Island while Mr. Obama has the edge in Vermont,” reported the Times. The Associate Press counted the delegates, according to the Times, and Clinton trails Obama by 109 delegates, with 2,025 needed for nomination. The Associated Press estimated the Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont hold 444 delegates, reported the Times.

Knowlton wrapped up the story pointing out that some political analysts said that despite Obama’s outspending Clinton it appears she’s “made some headway in recent days in raising doubts about his experience and readiness to be commander in chief.”

Is it time for another Clinton miracle? I’ll be watching and waiting. The next big contest isn’t until April 22 in Pennsylvania.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

This month I covered a variety of issues from eating well to building families to aging well and finally, but not least the thing we all need to in order to live, money.

I hope you enjoy the following articles!

ON Magazine
Get Your Eating Habits In-line Online” on pages 10 – 11.
For several years Carey Craig worked with a personal trainer to improve his health and lose weight, but instead of losing weight he went from roughly 190 pounds to an estimated 217 pounds. Craig, a special events and meeting planner who dabbles in real estate investing, didn’t understand. He was gaining more muscle but he was also gaining more fat. Finally, Craig’s trainer suggested that he see a nutritionist…

Creating families in the 21st century” on pages 16 – 17.
Today’s gay couples are increasingly enjoying the American dream of a lavender house wrapped in a white picket fence and two biological kids bouncing around inside their eco-friendly SUV…

Oakland Magazine
Old and Gay
Before Armistead Maupin’s famed Tales of the City became a book and then a serialized movie, Oakland resident Cheryl Berger, a self-described avid reader, would open the San Francisco Chronicle and read Maupin’s stories about the residents at 28 Barbary Lane…

Voice of Experience: Suze Orman, Personal Finance Guru
As many of you loyal Glass Hammer readers know, we love the practical and down-to-earth financial advice for women offered by personal finance guru Suze Orman. In a recent interview with a Glass Hammer contributor, Orman explained that she didn’t buy into gender differences regarding how men and women think about and handle their money until five years into her Emmy Award-winning financial show, The Suze Orman Show, on CNBC. After listening to five years of callers’ questions and observing her own friends’ relationships with money, she began examining the differences in how women and men handle money…