Friday, August 13, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO -- The federal judge who overturned California's same-sex marriage ban has more bad news for the measure's backers: He doubts they have the right to challenge his ruling that gay couples can begin marrying next week.
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker on Thursday rejected a request to delay his decision barring Proposition 8 from taking effect until high courts can take up an appeal lodged by its supporters. One of the reasons, the judge said, is he's not sure the proponents have the authority to appeal since they would not be affected by or responsible for implementing his ruling.
By contrast, same-sex couples are being denied their constitutional rights every day they are prohibited from marrying, Walker said.
The ban's backers "point to harm resulting from a 'cloud of uncertainty' surrounding the validity of marriages performed after judgment is entered but before proponents' appeal is resolved," he said. "Proponents have not, however, argued that any of them seek to wed a same-sex spouse."
Walker gave opponents of same-sex marriage until Aug. 18 at 5 p.m. to get a ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on whether gay marriages should start before the court considers their broader appeal. Their lawyers filed a request asking the 9th Circuit to intervene and block the weddings on an emergency basis late Thursday.
They argued the appeals court should grant a stay of Walker's order requiring state officials to cease enforcing Proposition 8 "to avoid the confusion and irreparable injury that would flow from the creation of a class of purported same-sex marriages."
Depending on how the 9th Circuit rules, same-sex couples could begin tying the knot in California as early as next week or be put off while the appeal works its way through the court and potentially the U.S. Supreme Court as well.
California voters passed Proposition 8 as a state constitutional amendment in November 2008, five months after the California Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions and an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples already had married.
In refusing to suspend his ruling for more than a few days, Walker agreed with the lawyers who sued to strike down the ban that it's unclear if Proposition 8's sponsors have legal standing to appeal.
Although he allowed the coalition of religious and conservative groups that sponsored the measure to defend the lawsuit during the 13-day trial over which he presided, the judge said appellate courts have different rules for deciding when a party is eligible to challenge a lower court.
Based on his interpretation of those rules, it appears the ban's sponsors can only appeal his decision with the backing of either Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger or Attorney General Jerry Brown, Walker said. But that seems unlikely as both officials refused to defend Proposition 8 in Walker's court and said last week they see no reason why gay couples should not be able to tie the knot now.
Walker also turned aside arguments that marriages performed now could be thrown into legal chaos if Proposition 8 is later upheld by an appeals court. He pointed to the 18,000 same-sex couples who married legally in the five months that gay marriage was legal in California as proof.
San Francisco Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart, who during the trial helped argue that Proposition 8 should be overturned, said that while it will not be up to Walker to decide the eligibility issue, "it's very realistic" that the 9th Circuit could reach the same conclusion.
"We allocate the decision-making authority over how to enforce and defend and prosecute the laws to the executive branch," Stewart said. "Do you want every Tom, Dick and Harry second-guessing what the attorney general does and challenging every ruling the attorney general chooses not to?"
The ban's backers addressed the potential for such a roadblock in their emergency stay request, saying California's strong citizen initiative law permits ballot measure proponents to defend their interests when state officials refuse to.
"We are confident we do have standing to seek the appellate review here, and we realize this case has just begun and we will get the decision overturned on appeal," said Jim Campbell, an Alliance Defense Fund lawyer who is part of the legal team defending Proposition 8.
Other legal analysts think the appeals court will allow the group that raised $40 million to pass Proposition 8 to formally challenge Walker's ruling.
"What Judge Walker's ruling means is you can sponsor a proposition, direct it, research it, work for it, raise $40 million for it, get it on a ballot, successfully campaign for it and then have no ability to defend it independently in court," said Dale Carpenter, a University of Minnesota constitutional law professor who supports same-sex marriage. "And then a judge maybe let you be the sole defender in a full-blown trial and then says, 'by the way, you never can defend this.' It just seems very unlikely to me the higher courts will buy that."
Walker's order clearing the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California for the first time since 52 percent of the state's voters approved Proposition 8 nonetheless raised hopes among gay couples who flocked to government offices to await word that they soon will be able to exchange vows.
"We just want equal rights. We're tired of being second-class citizens," said Amber Fox, 35, who went to the Beverly Hills Municipal Courthouse on Thursday morning in hopes of marrying her partner. The couple wed in Massachusetts in June but wanted to make it official in their home state.
Teresa Rowe, 31, and her partner, Kristin Orbin, 31, said they were still happy with the decision even though the ceremony didn't happen. The couple went to San Francisco City Hall early Thursday morning to fill out a marriage license application.
"It's sad that we have to wait a little longer, but it's been six years," Rowe said.
Associated Press writers Trevor Hunnicutt in San Francisco and Shaya Tayefe Mohajer in Beverly Hills contributed to this report.
Read more: Gay Marriage can resume on August 18
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Thomas Glave spoke of a fear of being beaten while walking in New Kingston. This fear has projected a defensive exterior of silence amidst passive aggression with a sprinkling of violent responses. And over the years I have watched the voice of Gay Jamaica diminish as there seems to be an increase in asylum and re-closeting an act i propose has occurred after the death of Bryan a Gay Rights Activist with no qualms to speak openly about sexuality.
Silence has become such a major aspect of the community so much so that artist the voice of the nation though deemed to be homosexual spends much time tightening and sealing the doors possibly as a bid to save his own life.
So when the door of the macho theatre space is opened the seats have already been filled and crowd is in anticipation of the play that will begin in 30 minutes. This is one f the theatre houses where the purchase of a ticket has to happen days in advance. Already the marketting team and the front of house manager is pleased that this star choose to join this production house.
Then when the play begins a stereotype of a cas-cas man with many effemenate mannerisms exorcises screams of laughter from those who moments before could not stand his mannerisms and was disgusted by his very presence. And those silent for so long have sat around and watched and joined in the openness that he portrays.
The roots theatre like most popular media seeks to be the voice bearing teh familiar message of its cousin Reggae and dancehall music, spreading the idea that there are things done sexually that are abominations of sorts. The list consisting of cheating, female promiscuity. homosexuality and oral sex while lauding male prowess. The effect of another repression imposed on us by society.
This play can be examined from many perspectives but one of interest is revealed if we pay attention to the characters for example a disguised uptown woman who is using love to control the men who stand between her dead husbands fortune and her life while the other is a woman who has fallen after relinquishing herself to her man. This feminist viewing of the play when juxtaposed with the effeminate male who reveals himself at the end to be the best detective in the force ( an ironically implication as the politicians have been foaming at the mouth because of the presence of gays in the force).
yet the play can be seen as a satire playing whimsically on the position of the upper class women and the way they relate to men either being completely subject-ified or they become so dominant and devious in their demand for what they want. All in all this play opens up more relevant conversation than those being portrayed in theatre that is disregarded.
But I digress
This play with its condescension on diversity hires a gay man to be its star and the audience finds his coarse crass humour to be the most thrilling experience. The employment of slapstick and acrobatics enhance the stinging response that flows from his lips.
As a teacher in high school in St Thomas I had often heard myself ponder about the excessive amount of anger that linger in the mind of the youth. And now this immediate demeaning response sits as the mecca of our comedic experience. But here we are again with the axiom: Take bad thing make laughter. But I hope this laughter will mean something worthwhile and allow this suppression of sexuality find itself to be the peas soup that gives us the freedom to be.
And already I see the silence breaking when on a Monday night the boys have returned flaunting themselves in drag and tight clothes knees knock ready for the bubble that sowed the seeds of discomfort that the actor dismisses with his tool of laughter.
This note is less about the excellent performances of the actors who have transitioned to this unfamiliar style of theatre and shown themselves embedded in this culture and shinning but more so about the idea that the Arts was a tool employed my black leaders as they struggled for civil liberty in the issue of race and the comparison is evident between race and homosexuality.
So maybe this phenomenon of discomfort is in fact a passage a moment for the straight and defensively closed minded to open themselves and subsequently our society to relinquish silence.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
She has not escaped that from this blog but only in as far as her pronouncements and borderline theocratic views on homosexuality and her supposed fears and warnings of the "homosexual lobby" in Jamaica. The infamous Observer article she penned in 2007 of which the online version is not available but I found a print copy an excerpt of which can be seen on Gay Jamaica Watch.
here are some of the newspaper cartoons predominantly from Lasmay of the Gleaner that depict the perceptions of Miss Blaine's new found revolve in politics but given the fate of previous new political parties there are those who already predict doom as seen in the letter excerpted below from the Jamaica Observer.
Now that Mrs Betty-Ann Blaine has launched her own political party, Jamaica will get a good demonstration of what talk-show-hosts-turned-politicians should not do.
The problem with talk-show hosts is that when they decide to go into politics, the public would have had a pretty good idea of what they are planning to do. Unfortunately for Mrs Blaine, her public utterances on her show before launching her party might have already sealed her doom.
First, she claims that God will be at the forefront of her political agenda. Now, whenever I hear politicians talk about God being in charge, it's just their way of conceding that they really don't have the solutions to solve our problems. I wouldn't want to be led by a leader who doesn't even know where to start.
Remember her no-vote campaign a few years ago? Ms Blaine thought that people shouldn't vote, as we don't have leaders who care. She was one of the chief architects of the cynicism that currently prevails in regard to people voting for politicians. What makes her think that people are going to treat her any different is a mystery to me, especially after this U-turn.
Though never a fan, I distinctly remember hearing Mrs Blaine saying a lot of things while on air. One such was her call some time ago for a police state and the curtailing of some of our rights to deal with our out-of-control crime crisis. Imagine if she were to become prime minister!
Mrs Blaine also strikes me as one who puts too much faith in her Bible. Every time I hear her on radio, she would proudly proclaim that God is in control. Yet almost immediately, she would curse the current state of affairs. Now, if God is in control, why is she complaining?
When she joined the United People's Party (now defunct), she did so under God's guidance. Shortly after that, she left, claiming that God told her that the time was not right. Now she has gone back into politics again, claiming once more that it is God's calling. Why do these people take such great pleasure in making their God look like an idiot?
Anyway, Mrs Blaine will soon get a well-rehearsed lesson in failed third parties. I am at a total loss as to why she would come to the crazy idea that her party will succeed, especially after her stint as a talk-show host.
Michael A Dingwall
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thank you for your donations via Paypal in helping to keep this blog going and related costs. Please continue to support me and my allies in this venure that has now become a full time activity. When I first started blogging in late 2007 it was just as a pass time to highlight GLBTQ issues in Jamaica under then JFLAG's blogspot page but now clearly there is a need for more forumatic activity which I want to continue to play my part.
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Recent Homophobic Incidents
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Steps to Take When Contronted or Arrested by Police
b) Only give name and address and no other information until a lawyer is present to assist
c) Try to be polite even if the scenario is tensed) Don’t do anything to aggravate the situation
e) Every complaint lodged at a police station should be filed and a receipt produced, this is not a legal requirement but an administrative one for the police to track reports
f) Never sign to a statement other than the one produced by you in the presence of the officer(s)
g) Try to capture a recording of the exchange or incident or call someone so they can hear what occurs, place on speed dial important numbers or text someone as soon as possible
h) File a civil suit if you feel your rights have been violatedi) When making a statement to the police have all or most of the facts and details together for e.g. "a car" vs. "the car" represents two different descriptions
j) Avoid having the police writing the statement on your behalf except incases of injuries, make sure what you want to say is recorded carefully, ask for a copy if it means that you have to return for it