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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Appeal the Prop. 8 Decision!

Posted By on Wed, Sep 15, 2010 at 8:59 AM

click to enlarge It'd be a shame if the reversal of Prop. 8 didn't have national implications...
  • It'd be a shame if the reversal of Prop. 8 didn't have national implications...
There was talk on Monday that a "group of conservative leaders" were chasing around Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado, begging him to file an appeal on the Proposition 8 decision, since he was acting as governor while Arnold Schwarzenegger was out of town. Time was short! An appeal had to be filed by the end of the day on Monday. He didn't do it, of course.

But I really wanted him to.

Without someone official throwing down against Judge Vaughn Walker's decision, there may be no basis to appeal it. If the court finds that the Yes on 8ers have no standing to appeal Walker's decision, then Prop. 8 is dead -- and so is this trial. And that would be bullshit.

Sure, it's swell that same-sex couples would be getting married again in California, but this outcome is painfully anticlimactic. Ted Olson and David Boies are superhero attorneys and we can't waste their powers by merely pissing on Prop. 8.

That would be like calling Superman to put out a house fire while the forest is burning.

Thirty states have laws like Prop 8 and if, as Walker says, the due process rights and equal protection guarantees of same-sex couples are breeched by such laws, then we can't just settle for the relief of California alone. They all have to go, and we need Olson/Boies to finish what they started.

This cake ought to be on the menu in every state
  • This cake ought to be on the menu in every state

It's too late to file an appeal but it's not too late to let Imperial County join the case with the proponents of Prop. 8. They really, really want to fight Walker's ruling and they clearly think gays should be discriminated against -- 70 percent voted yes on Prop. 8. Give them a shot at an appeal. We need to hear their rationale. Maybe they can have William Tam testify again. He was great on the stand! Let the trend of gay courtroom victory continue unabated.

The Prop. 8 trial is just one of three big, fat, juicy victories in federal court for the gays this summer -- but they all must be appealed to maximize their potentials. The progress on the other two trials depends on appeals to be filed by President Barack Obama's Department of Justice.

In July, a federal district court in Massachusetts determined that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. The Obama administration has until October 11 (National Coming Out Day, amazingly) to file an appeal.

Just last week another federal judge in California determined that the military ban on gay personnel known as Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) was also unconstitutional, and issued an injunction to bar enforcement of the policy. The Justice Department has until September 23 to submit an objection to the injunction. 

Why should Obama appeal these two decisions? Well, it has been his position that he must defend these policies. We need to hear the defense come from one side of his mouth while he claims to be our fierce advocate out of the other side. As the decisions in our favor continue to arrive, they cause fickle politicians to have severe, unnatural gas on the campaign trail.

These flaming hot controversial cases drop into Obama's lap just in time for the midterm election. While he wrings his hands over DOMA and DADT appeals, we have to push for a challenge to Walker's decision in California.

Allowing these cases to stand produces temporary victories that don't resolve the larger issues. If Walker's decision holds, it means Californians are the only gays to feel relief. If Obama doesn't appeal the DOMA decision, then only Massachusetts couples will be extended some federal recognitions. The DADT decision is the only one of the three that is worthy of being allowed to stand -- but that is unlikely, because of the pseudo-repeal that might happen this month.

Without appeals, these cases will be mere building blocks for future relief that will take much longer to realize than if they were appealed -- and then made to apply to people beyond the areas where the cases originated. Prop. 8 could get shitcanned and the gays will get to marry -- but only in California, and the federal government still won't recognize any of the marriages. So whoop-de-fucking-do. 

What is the point of going as far as we have on these matters without taking them all the way to the court that will validate our citizenship -- the Supreme Court? We know these policies and amendments and laws are illegitimate. We should not have to wait while America wiggles around in its seat trying to find a way to continue being bigoted asshats.

Patrick Connors is an uppity fag who thinks the Supreme Court isn't going to magically become liberal no matter how long we hold our breath.

Follow him on Twitter at @UppityFag and @TheSnitchSF  

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Patrick Connors


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