Tuesday, November 25, 2008

So we marched. So now what?

There has been lots of discussion about "The New Stonewall" and how the gay community is newly empowered, joined with its straight allies, and moving beyond the latte-sipping, don't rock the boat Human Rights Campaign (note that the HRC doesn't even have GAY in its title). Our young friends at Join the Impact are still working away at all sorts of ideas (some of the better ones summarized here). But postcards?

What the heck. Who would have thought they could mobilize people in 50 states and 8 countries for a simultaneous protest march using twitter and facebook! Click here and give it a go.


Ann said...

I don't contribute to HRC anymore - they don't have the interest of the community - too tepid. Who do you think is the best national voice? I already support ACLU.

Anonymous said...

I think that's one of the problems, Ann, there isn't a good national voice right now. HRC has been worse than useless. The challenge for the movement is to harness the energy that it has generated, but it is completely unclear how that will happen.


TheraP said...

IT, posting here to apologize for the major thread-jacking that occurred on your post at TPM yesterday. It's a totally other problem and the blogger in question likes to argue... and there's no point in even responding as the entity (person? group?) is not interested in anything other than nit-picking, distracting, and making points at the expense of honest folk. (...has been a total pompous annoyance to me for 2 months now and escalating!)

So I'm taking a break from TPM for a bit (and put up a post to that effect) due to some family responsibilities involving aged parents and a husband newly diagnosed with cancer (together with the aforementioned blog "stalker"). But at some point soon I intend to do a major post looking at the issue of gay marriage from both political and religious viewpoints. So just letting you know that. Along with my total moral support. Which I can only imagine means the world to you - no matter who is giving it right now.

I know of one heterosexual couple out in Seattle (I think) who are refusing to marry until everyone can marry. And that's another interesting angle to take here!

So just chiming in. And I'll check out your link a bit later. For whatever reason, I can honestly say I feel this issue is my god-given responsibility to do what I can - along with the family responsibilities of course. I think I can write well and also integrate these two sides... the religious bigotry and the political/Constitutional issues. I'll do what I can on that front too.

Just remember. You are not alone! And of course: fear not!

fear not/TheraP

dr.primrose said...

Today's Los Angeles Times has a story on the strange vote by Justice Kennard of the California Supreme Court on the case currently before the court about the validity of Prop. 8 -- Legal experts puzzled over California justice's seeming reversal on Prop. 8: Justice Joyce L. Kennard has been a reliable supporter of gay rights in the past, but last week she was the only Supreme Court jurist to vote against hearing legal challenges to the gay-marriage ban.

The story says in part:


The California Supreme Court’s order last week to consider legal challenges to Proposition 8 contained one surprising twist -- the name of the sole justice who voted against hearing the cases.

Justice Joyce L. Kennard, a staunchly independent if not stubborn jurist, has a lengthy record of protecting gay rights, including the right to marry, and often sides with the underdog in rulings.

In fact, her record is so unwavering that many gay-rights activists and several independent legal scholars surmised that her vote against hearing the legal challenges was procedural -- for example, she might have wanted them to be filed in lower courts first -- and did not reflect her thinking on the cases.

But a close reading of the court's one-page order suggests that gay-rights advocates may have lost a usually predictable ally in their effort to overturn Proposition 8.

"It definitely isn't a good sign," said UCLA Law Professor Brad Sears, an expert on sexual-orientation law.

After learning of Kennard's vote, he went back and read her concurring opinion in the court's historic 4-3 vote on May 15 that permitted gays to marry. It left him even more puzzled.

Whether a state ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional "is not a matter to be decided by the executive or legislative branch, or by popular vote, but is instead an issue of constitutional law for resolution by the judicial branch," Kennard wrote.

"Everything she writes in her concurrence is substantively what she will have to agree to in order to overturn Proposition 8," he said.

Although it is impossible to know Kennard's thinking -- justices cannot comment on pending cases -- others saw reason to suspect that Kennard may not be buying the argument that Proposition 8 was an improper revision of the state constitution.

The order said Kennard would hear a new case to resolve the validity of the 18,000 same-sex marriages "without prejudice" -- a phrase that indicates she was open to arguments on the issue. But she declined to modify her denial of the Proposition 8 challenges with those same words.


My reading of the court's order was the same as everyone else's -- her position is utterly bizarre. I'm afraid I also agree with Prop. Sears -- it's not a good sign.

My feeling, for what it's worth, is that the court will probably uphold Prop. 8 but also uphold the the pre-existing marriages. But my prognostication skills aren't too great -- I was really shocked that an almost entirely Republican court issued its decision last May.

Anonymous said...

I also did not expect the decision in June

And I am also not hopeful about this...I don't understand how eliminating a minority's rights can be constitutional, and must state in this regard along with Mr Bumble that the Law is an Ass.


Anonymous said...

You aren't alone either, TheraP/FN, and I posted on your TPM blog. GOOD LUCK to you and your husband!


dr.primrose said...

On a somewhat different note. I rarely read the comments on some of "those" sites. But occasionally there's some kind of comment about how gay and lesbian people don't need protection because they're so privileged.

I'm not going to post a response over there. But of course those comments are just hogwash.

I've commented here a couple of times about the California Court of Appeal decision last month holding a California school district liable for sexual orientation harrassment after two kids were verbally and physically abused over a number of years. The administration did nothing and took the attitude of "boys will be boys." I don't need to repeat those comments, but you can read the decision if you like -- Donovan v. Poway Unified School District.

In addition, on Friday, the Court of Appeal in Los Angeles decided a case in favor of a lesbian under the California Fair Employment Act. She claimed that she was harrassed and eventually fired because she was a lesbian -- Dominguez v. Washington Mutual Bank.

This is what the court said about how she was treated:


Dominguez began working at WaMu in March 2002 as a temporary employee assigned to processing outgoing mail. Within two weeks time, it became known that she was a lesbian. Soon after, mail services coworker Gutierrez began making crude and offensive comments to Dominguez relating to her sexual orientation. These included asking about her favorite sexual position, whether she liked giving or getting oral sex, and whether she was the “stud” with her girlfriend. Gutierrez also called her “macho,” told her she needed a man, and said she would turn a female coworker into a lesbian.

Russell Rough was the direct supervisor of both Dominguez and Gutierrez. Instead of complaining to Rough about Gutierrez’s conduct, sometime in late April 2002, Dominguez went to Rough’s supervisor, Shelly Ferrel, who was also a lesbian. In addition to describing some of the statements Gutierrez made about her, Dominguez also told Ferrel about comments Gutierrez made about Ferrel, including calling Ferrel “a fucking lesbian,” a “fucking macho,” and saying that Ferrel thought of herself as “handsome.” According to Dominguez, Ferrel promised to talk to Rough about Gutierrez’s behavior.

Gutierrez then stopped making the offensive comments but began interfering with Dominguez’s work by several means: throwing balls of paper that would jam up the wheels of her pallet jack; stacking heavy boxes in areas that blocked her access to various work stations; and by telling her that he had no mail to send, then later changing his mind after she had prepared all the other mail for distribution, forcing her to re-sort the mail and revise her written report about her work output. Gutierrez also began to whistle an offensive tune whenever he walked by Dominguez. According to Dominguez, the tune was widely known in Mexico as the melodic accompaniment for the Spanish phrase, “Chinga tu madre, cabron.” Dominguez testified that “chinga tu madre” means “go fuck your mother,” while “cabron” is a term commonly used to insult men.

In May 2002, Dominguez complained again to Ferrel about Gutierrez’s conduct. Although she did not mention the whistling incidents, she told Ferrel how Gutierrez was interfering with her ability to do her job. She also told Ferrel that she had overheard Gutierrez say, “Fucking lesbian asshole. I am going to fuck her.” According to Dominguez, Ferrel told her it was “obvious that [Rough was] not doing his job” and promised to talk to Rough again about Gutierrez’s behavior. However, Gutierrez continued to interfere with Dominguez’s work and whistle the offensive tune. Between May and August 2002 Dominguez complained to Rough at least 12 times about the work interference issue, but with no effect. In fact, in July of 2002, Dominguez was assigned to work directly with Gutierrez. According to Rough, he might have given Gutierrez verbal warnings, but he never gave Gutierrez a written warning about his conduct.


There are thus two California Court of Appeal published decisions in just over a month dealing with pervasive and long-term harrassment of gay and lesbian people. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Most people don't file complaints. Of those, very few actually sue. Of those who lose at the trial court level, very few appeal. Of those who appeal, very few of the California appellate court decisions are actually officially pubished like these two (80%-90% of California appellate decisions are not officially published).

A lot of gay and lesbian people are not living privileged lives. That's why there's a need for laws protecting them from harrassment and discrimination. Anyone who says something to the contrary is either woefully ignorant or actively malicious.

dr.primrose said...

Sorry for hogging this thread. But the Los Angeles Times reported this afternoon that another Mormon supporter of Prop. 8 who works in the arts has resigned -- L.A. Film Festival director Richard Raddon resigns: Raddon, a Mormon, steps down over reaction to his financial support of Prop. 8.

dr.primrose said...

Oh well, while I'm at it, don't miss the editorial from today's New York Times -- California’s Legal Tangle. It begins:

"The approval of Proposition 8 in California, a constitutional change designed to prohibit marriage between couples of the same sex, was not just a defeat for fairness. It raised serious legal questions about the validity of using the Election Day initiative process to obliterate an existing right for a targeted minority."

JCF said...

Thank you, Dr. Primrose . . . but now I'm furious (re the Richard Raddon Resigns story):

In a statement, Raddon said, "I have always held the belief that all people, no matter race, religion or sexual orientation, are entitled to equal rights. As many know, I consider myself a devout and faithful Mormon. I prefer to keep the details around my contribution through my church a private matter. But I am profoundly sorry for the negative attention that my actions have drawn to Film Independent and for the hurt and pain that is being experienced in the GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender] community."

Exsqueeze me???

There is NOTHING "private" about spending $ to change a LAW in order to discriminate. Nothing! Laws are public BY DEFINITION.

And from a defender, some of the SAME BLATHER:

"I'm personally saddened by the outcome," said Film Independent board member Bill Condon, the writer-director of "Dreamgirls." "Someone has lost his job and possibly his livelihood because of privately held religious beliefs. I think the organization was ready to tough this out, but Rich ultimately decided it wasn't worth the cost. I'm not sure he was right."

"privately held" my *ss!!! >:-0

Mr. Raddon made a CHOICE: a public choice, to donate his $ in order to change a law.

He made his choice . . . and the consequences of that (public) choice, were to piss off a bunch of people (lots of 'em Greater H'Wood, and hence, in his day-to-day world).

Deal w/ it, Raddon. Next time, maybe you'll tell your Mormon BigWigs that your co-workers/audience come BEFORE their prejudices???

David G. said...

HRC is a lobbiest group that should retire... Much like the Nazi party retired at the end of WW2.

We (GLBT) people are not simpletons ... You will deal with our wrath in you're own ways.... but GET THIS, ...we shall not be abused any longer!!

TheraP said...

JCF and Dr. Primrose:

Very interesting info. Makes me wonder now if the fundies of various types are going to try and fight this on grounds of religious freedom... as if their "privately held" religious beliefs (or practices?) were being infringed by gay rights. Sounds bizarre, but it actually shows me that this whole problem goes back to a religious argument being made to affect how civil rights law is interpreted.


Thanks for your kind comment here. I'm a better place this morning (after spending a huge part of yesterday in the ER with the parents - on little sleep and no breakfast!). I honestly have not been brave enough to visit my post from yesterday. (just "seeing" the blue Taoist symbol of the "bad apple" makes my stomach churn). I hate to sound like a whiner... but is it safe to visit that post of mine? (One of the few TPM people who has my email sent me a very kind email - with some good advice from Sun Tzu. If I could only make sense of it!)

Re the issue of trying to control whose "love" merits marriage - I am even more convinced I need to take the time to tease out where the (religious) muddles originated.

Does anyone know anyone who is very familiar with Mormonism? Because that too needs to be addressed. If Mormons are against this, we need ways to examine and undermine the mistaken assumptions that underlie their attacks.

fear not/TheraP

Anonymous said...

TheraP, when I saw your TPM post yesterday everyone was very positive. I have not looked today. I don't know what you have going with that other poster but his was fine.

I gather from your profile you are in the Midwest, so you may not know that A BIG part of the argument from the aggressive Pro-8 folks is that gay marriage infringes on their religious freedom.

Inotherwords, they MUST discriminate against me, because if they don't that discriminates against them.

The Mormons bankrolled it, certainly. But they prefer to remain in the background; the face of the pro-8 crowd was not Mormons but Catholics and evangelicals.

Our James who posts here knows a lot about MOrmonism.


Anonymous said...

JCF, with respect to Raddon:

In a statement, Raddon said, "I have always held the belief that all people, no matter race, religion or sexual orientation, are entitled to equal rights. A

BUt his actions directly belie this statement. He does NOT believe in equal rights, or he would not have donated.

So, either he is a mere mindless tool of his church, or he is lying, or a hypocrite.

However, I don't think that anyone should lose their job because of their freely expressed speech even if it is revolting. It is NO DIFFERENT than firing someone because they had an Obama sticker....or a rainbow flag.... on their car. NO DIFFERENT.

Individuals of course may choose not to do business with him, but his employer/manager must be above the fray.

It is one of the challenges of being an employer. I cannot mandate all my employees get along (being highly-strung scientists, they often don't). But I can insist upon at least minimally professional behavior. I have had religious fundies in my lab (yes there are some) as well as staunch Republicans. And here I am a liberal lesbian atheist. No matter; they can do the work and leave the politics outside, as can I.


David G. said...

Frankly, I really don't care about Gay Marriage, never did, and the fact that it brought out such strong emotions,...turned me right off!!

But, ...I wouldn't make a Law against it,..or even vote for..think about, ...let my mind become a robotic entity...about it,...Such things Fundies can't exclaim!!

Mindless Idiots = People who blindly voted for George W. Bush.
(my granny) such a SAD pronunciation.

JCF said...

However, I don't think that anyone should lose their job because of their freely expressed speech even if it is revolting. It is NO DIFFERENT than firing someone because they had an Obama sticker....or a rainbow flag.... on their car. NO DIFFERENT.

I guess we still disagree, IT: chiefly, that this was a resignation, NOT a "firing."

I see a qualitative difference here. The only "firing" was Raddon firing himself, because he realized (to his credit, and moreso than his employers) that he could no longer be effective in his job.

Job efficiency doesn't take place in a vacuum. It depends on the good will and cooperation of co-workers and clients.

Raddon betrayed that. While there might have been ways for him to repair that damage while staying in his job (Costly, time-/energy-/emotion-consuming ways), he chose the quicker out of resignation.

I'm sorry for him---but I'm sorrier for us. He still can get married, and we no longer can. :-(

IT said...

Perhaps it's the difference of the personal relationships in these arts fields, JCF. People can't look past it and can refuse to deal with him --they have the power-- which makes him unable to continue in his job.

Like everything else, there's no bright line.

But I am obviously really uncomfortable with this as a free speech issue, since it so easily can be reversed to affect "people like us". WHat if a big corporate client tells a law firm that he won't deal with their gay lawyer, because he's opposed to gays? does the law firm reassign the lawyer, or drop the client?

I know I have had to deal with total !@#$s in my profession, really scummy human beings. However, because they generally have had the power, and I generally have not, the only person hurt if I refuse to deal with them is me.

And while it's all fine to be idealistic and sacrificial in theory, generally it's not workable in practice.

Sigh. I don't know how to resolve it.

JCF said...

Hmmm. I was just thinking, IT, that you may be coming at this from the Ideal of "Pure Science."

I mean, if it's just the Scientist, the Test-tube, and the Microscope, who cares whether the Scientist believes in Marriage Equality (or ANY civil rights, for that matter) or not?

I get, that if a homophobic scientist were to find a cure for a disease I have, I'm hardly going to refuse it, just because who discovered it!

But surely, even you, Pure Scientist IT, can admit that your REAL LIFE job, ain't the Ideal? (In more ways than one, obviously! *g*)

YOU have clients, and co-workers. It doesn't matter how original a scientist you were: if you were to sexually harrass a co-worker, you'd be outta there (and BP would divorce you, but that's another story! :-p).

Recalling that sexual harrassment often takes place behind someone's back (spreading rumors, for example), to ME (and OCICBW), spending $ money to change the law re marriage, is a LOT like a form of behind-the-back harrassment.

It's not "free speech", because it's an ACTION: the action of discrimination, to be enforced BY LAW. It's an act of violence.

...and it could make a work-place UNWORKABLE.

Pagan Sphinx said...

This is great. Thank you for alerting us to it. After the family holiday hoop-la, I'm returning here to participate.

JCF said...

Welcome to Friends o' Jake, PS! :-)

[An oddly successful lil' blog, begun only after our Pater Familias, "Jake", ended his blog fatherjakestopstheworld.blogspot.com in order to pursue other interests. Our mods are great!]