OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with California
Encouraging news coming out of California this week! The state senate is quickly passing some new legislation that would ban the practice of applying the unscientific and discredited practice of gay “conversion therapy” on anyone under the age of 18. The bill would also make anyone over the age of 18 sign a waver acknowledging that the practice is ineffective and harmful before seeking such therapies.
Conservative groups are already up in arms, saying that the ban tramples the rights of parents to “seek appropriate psychological care for their children.” According to the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, however, there is no circumstances under which such therapy is ever considered appropriate. Both organisations have warned, in no uncertain terms, that sexual orientation is unchangeable, and any attempts to treat being gay as a disorder are likely to result in serious psychological harm.
Canada, incidentally, does not ban conversion therapy. In fact, it’s a registered charitable activity here. Here’s hoping that California’s proposed legislation is signed into law, and that Canada follows suit!
- California may ban gay teen ‘conversion’ therapy [Associated Press]
On Wednesday, just days after my wedding, a federal judge declared that California’s Proposition 8—a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage—violated the constitutional rights guaranteed to all U.S. citizens.
I couldn’t be happier. Canada got its first taste of equal marriage rights in 2003, and eventually recognized it nationwide in 2005. Knowing that so many people south of the border will soon share the same joy and freedoms that we have up here makes me giddy with anticipation.
Californians still have to wait a little while before enjoying their full legal equality, mind you. Anti-gay lobbyists have already appealed the decision and a temporary stay has been put into effect, possibly until a decision is reached there. I don’t know enough about the U.S. justice system to offer a prediction of the outcome, but I do think that the anti-equality side simply hasn’t demonstrated arguments that can hold up to court scrutiny. After all, according to them, Canada should be a smoking crater by now. Of course, in reality, nothing bad has come of it by any demonstrable standard.
California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Attorney General, Jerry Brown, has both filed formal motions to lift California’s stay, which would reintroduce full equality immediately. Until then, congratulations to California for your important step toward the full equality that your constitution guarantees!
California is advancing a bill that will repeal a bizarre “gay cure” law from 1950. The law states that “the State Department of Mental Health shall plan, conduct and cause to be conducted scientific research into the causes and cures of sexual deviation, including […] the causes and cures of homosexuality.”
A bill to strike the ancient law advanced on a 4-0 vote, with three abstentions from members who supported the removal of the homosexuality reference, but would still like the law on the books to research sexual predators.
No word on whether or not the state will next stop its investigations of crop failures due to witchcraft.
- Calif. considers repealing law to study, cure gays [Associated Press]
- Calif. Looks to Change Gay “Cure” Law [NBC Bay Area]
eHarmony, a popular online matchmaking service, has settled a lawsuit regarding their refusal to match same-sex couples. The California-based company was taken to court two years ago over its heterosexual-only policy, with the company steadfastly refusing to have any part in matching gay couples throughout most of the suit.
Neil Clark Warren, an evangelical Christian and eHarmony’s founder, said that the company was not discriminating against gays, but that their patented compatibility formulae were based exclusively on heterosexual married couples and therefore not applicable to same-sex partners. (Apparently, we gays prefer that our partners dislike all our goals, hobbies, and personal tastes; life’s more difficult that way!)
Despite the mysteriousness of us gay couples, the company ultimately agreed to open a second website, called Compatible Partners, which offers same-sex matchmaking. Under the terms of the settlement, the eHarmony website will now automatically direct gay singles to their separate, but equivalent site and state that it’s “brought to you by eHarmony.”
Well, that’s great news for everyone seeking a same-sex partner! Now you too can be begrudgingly accepted by a service that thinks your pursuit for love is so different from heterosexuals that they probably shouldn’t bother at all.
Well, the big news is no doubt yesterday’s decision by the California Supreme Court that Proposition 8, a referendum banning same-sex marriage in the state, is a legally valid constitutional amendment. While I’m disappointed, I’m not sure I can add to what many other commentators have put more eloquently than I could.
All I can say is to keep up the fight. Equality is not inevitable; it must be fought for, and I wish California all the best in overturning Prop 8 in the next referendum!
Google, the California-based search giant that I’ve just totally wasted my first sentence even bothering to describe, is continuing to follow through with its support of same-sex marriage. The company announced on Thursday that they had officially signed an amicus brief in support of court challenges aiming to strike down the ill-conceived Proposition 8:
Denying employees basic rights isn’t right, and it isn’t good for businesses. We are committed to preserving fundamental rights for every one of the people who work hard to make Google a success.
In protest, anti-gay lobby groups will now use a methodical guessing procedure to find websites—at least until their own search portal, www.search-engine.jesus, goes live.
The sponsors of California’s Proposition 8 have filed a brief with the state’s Supreme Court, arguing that the over 18,000 same-sex marriages performed there must be nullified immediately.
This move is somewhat of contradiction to what the sponsors said would happen if Proposition 8 were to pass in November. In a statement recorded by the Associated Press, the Yes On 8 campaign said that they “will not seek to invalidate the marriages already performed and will leave any legal challanges to others.”
Pretty darn shameful, if you ask me.
Encouragingly, though, California’s Attorney General Jerry Brown has also changed positions on the constitutional amendment. The former opponent of equal marriage has studied the law carefully and is now fighting to have the constitutional amendment stricken. He argues that an amendment to the constitution cannot override the guarantees of liberty in prior clauses:
The right of same-sex couples to marry is protected by the liberty interests of the constitution. If a fundamental right can be taken away without any particular justification, then what kind of a right is it?
So, while some are still fighting for equal marriage rights for all, others have begun the process to cancel the marriages of over 18,000 loving couples on the eve of a spiritual holiday about love, giving, and kindness.
Sigh. Where are those Dickens ghosts when you need them?
- Prop. 8 sponsors seek to nullify 18K gay marriages [Associated Press]
- California AG urges top court to void gay marriage ban [CBC News]
- Calif.’s top lawyer seeks to overturn gay marriage ban [Montréal Gazette]
Gay couples in the United States are in bitter-sweet celebration this week after a court victory won the right of same-sex marriage in Connecticut, a week after California lost it due to Proposition 8’s passage. Emboldened by what happened in California, anti-gay lobby groups are already working hard to reverse Connecticut’s court ruling, which they call “undemocratic.”
Undemocratic: That’s a word we’ll be hearing a lot of from anti-gay groups down South for a while, at least if Canada’s history on the matter is any indication.
When Stephen Harper announced that Canada’s Conservative party would vote to re-open the “marriage debate” in late 2006, I felt completely heartsick. Gay couples had already won the right to marry from multiple consecutive court rulings, and a bill to legalize it nationally had narrowly passed the year prior. That the Conservative Party was motioning to vote to take away rights from a minority group that fought so hard for them was confusing and mean-spirited, but they insisted it was necessary because the previous vote apparently wasn’t “free” enough. Liberal cabinet ministers, a handful of seats in the 308-seat parliament, were required to vote for equal marriage rights. That, they said, was undemocratic.
Ignoring, for a moment, that the “party whip,” a requirement by the party leader to vote for or against legislation, is part of our democratic process and something every party has employed, I couldn’t believe how quickly lessons from history had been forgotten. The fundamentally flawed concept that the rights of minorities should be decided by the majority had been used before in Canada, and it resulted in one of our greatest shames.
In 1885, Canada’s history was forever marred by the Chinese Immigration Act, brought into law through a democratic vote. Having already settled in North America, the people decided that legal barriers were necessary to keep out Chinese immigrants; they introduced a fifty dollar head tax for each Chinese immigrant, a small fortune at the time. This lasted 15 years until, in 1900, a second democratic vote increased that fee to five hundred dollars. Not long after, a third democratic vote severely restricted the number of Chinese immigrants that could be on any given boat to Canada, depending on the weight of the boat. Finally, in 1923, Canada banned Chinese immigrations entirely. The law wasn’t repealed for 24 years.
While the controversy was different, the concept was the same. The majority could tyrannize an unpopular minority, and protests or protections from this were dismissed as undemocratic.
This is precisely what’s happening in the States, and I’m deeply saddened that California is a part of it. It brought back memories from 2000, when I was living in Alberta and the provincial Tories utilized an obscure clause to override Canada’s Charter of Rights and ban same-sex marriage in the province. Thankfully, despite both successful and unsuccessful votes to ban it, Canada kept fighting and was eventually able to win equal marriage rights. The United States will too.
Protests against Proposition 8 are happening all over the world tomorrow, November 15th, and Canadians are invited to join in! Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, Sault Ste. Marie, and Calgary all have protests planned, and organizers in other cities are mobilizing too. Find out where it’s happening in your city and take part!
- After California loss, gay couples get right to wed in Connecticut [Globe and Mail]
- Same-sex marriages begin in Connecticut [CBC News]
- Protests against Prop 8 continue [Xtra]
On Tuesday, California will vote on Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and repeal the marriage licenses from same-sex couples who are already married. As a constitutional amendment, it would not only impose and enforce this single belief on everyone, it would be entirely immune to legal challanges.
The state consitution was created to ensure that everyone was entitled to equal treatment under the law and that everyone could pursue their own happiness. Writing in provisions that deny existing rights to a minority group while keeping those rights for the rest of the majority is a terrible abuse of the constitution and its spirit. There is no argument against same-sex marriage that justifies a law forbidding it, and one can look to countries (like, saaaaay, Canada) and states that enjoy equal marriage rights to see that no harm has come of it.
Californians, vote NO on Proposition 8.
The California Supreme Court reversed a state ban on same-sex marriages yesterday, allowing gay couples to legally wed in as little as 30 days. Chief Justice Ron George ushered in the ruling with a very nice annoucement:
Our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation—like a person’s race or gender—does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.
Religious and social conservative groups are upset, as usual, and will challenge the ruling. They’ve also started the process of introducing a constitutional amendment to ban equal marriage rights, which would undercut the justice system.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has indic—you know, you think I’d be used to that by now, but, seriously, Arnold Schwarzenegger? Anyway, Arnold Schwarzenegger has indicated that he respects the Supreme Court’s decision and will not support a marriage banning amendment.
Congratulations, California! It may not be over yet, but this is a phenomenal and important step.