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National News
National News
by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

Schwarzenegger: State Supremes may undo Prop 8
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told CNN on November 9 that the state Supreme Court may well "undo" Proposition 8, the voter initiative that re-banned same-sex marriage November 4 by amending the state constitution.

And the governor suggested he thinks that would be a good move.

"They had a very, very strong campaign, the pro-Proposition 8 people, and I think that the people that tried to defeat it did not have, maybe, as good a campaign or had as much money behind it, whatever," Schwarzenegger said. "I think it is unfortunate, obviously, but it's not the end because I think this will go back into the courts, this will go back to the Supreme Court because the Supreme Court very clearly in California has declared this unconstitutional. It's the same as in the 1948 case when blacks and whites were not allowed to marry. This falls into the same category. So, I think that we will again, you know, maybe undo that, if the court is willing to do that, and then move forward from there and again lead in that area."

In addition to the anti-Gay side's having aired much more effective ads than the pro-Gay side did in the huge TV-advertising war, Schwarzenegger said there were other factors that aided Prop 8's passage.

"Because of the big turnout amongst African-Americans and Latinos, that had an effect also, which they did not expect, so there's all kinds of other things there," he said. "And I think the religious groups have done a really big campaign, a lot of them, to support Proposition 8, and so on, and so it's a very, very difficult thing."

Before the TV ad war started, Prop 8 had been losing in the polls by as much as 17 points.

The governor also offered some advice to California's gay population.

"[Y]ou should never ever give up," he said. "They should never give up. They should be on it and on it until they get it done."

Lawyers for the Gay side filed suit in the state Supreme Court on November 5 seeking to annul Prop 8. They said it is not merely an amendment to the constitution but rather a "revision" that fundamentally alters the guarantee of equal protection.

Constitutional revisions require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to reach the ballot. Prop 8 got there by activists' collecting signatures on petitions.

"Proposition 8 is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the constitution's core commitment to equality for everyone by eliminating a fundamental right from just one group - Lesbian and Gay Californians," said the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

"Proposition 8 also improperly attempts to prevent the courts from exercising their essential constitutional role of protecting the equal protection rights of minorities," the groups said.



Legislators want Prop 8 overturned
Forty-four California legislators filed a brief with the state Supreme Court on November 10 urging that Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment that voters passed to re-ban same-sex marriage, be overturned.

Signers included Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass. Gay groups and others have filed suit seeking to invalidate Prop 8, arguing that it unconstitutionally "revised" the constitution, rather than merely amending it.

When changes in the constitution have far-reaching effects on the document's structure and purpose, the process of amending it must begin in the state Legislature, with a two-thirds vote. The process cannot start solely with voters signing petitions, as was the case with Prop 8.



California sees large, ongoing protests against Prop 8
Large grassroots protests against Proposition 8 have continued across California since November 4, some drawing 10,000 or more participants in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.

Smaller, but still sizable, protests have taken place in numerous other cities and towns, including, just to name a few, Anaheim, Encinitas, Fresno, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Long Beach, Sacramento and Ventura.

On Saturday, November 15, there were coordinated anti-Prop. 8 protests in 300 cities in all 50 U.S. states and several other countries at 10:30 a.m. California time.

In California alone, demonstrations reportedly took place in Alameda, Bakersfield, Berkeley, Big Bear Lake, Chico, Claremont, Colton, Costa Mesa, Delano, Escondido, Eureka, Fairfield, Fresno, Hemet, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Marysville, Merced, Modesto, Monterey, Moorpark, Moreno Valley, Mountain View, Napa, Oakland, Palm Springs, Pasadena, Pomona, Porterville, Rancho Cucamonga, Redding, Redlands, Riverside, Sacramento, Salinas, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, San Rafael, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, South Lake Tahoe, Stockton, Temecula, Tracy, Turlock, Ukiah, Vacaville, Ventura, Victorville, Walnut Creek and Yucca Valley.

A lengthy march from San Diego's Balboa Park to the County Administration Center was the largest of the 300 actions, attracting 25,000 marchers.

Most of the protests have been organized "virally," via text-messaging, e-mail, blogs, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter - often in as little as two days' time and without the leadership of big, established Gay organizations.

Gay writer and blogger Andrew Sullivan called what's happening "The Gay Awakening" and other commentators and bloggers are expressing similar sentiments.

An e-mail from a San Diego grassroots organizer stated, "If you missed Stonewall in 1969, it's available to our new generations in 2008."



Thousands march against Prop 8 in NYC
An estimated 7,500 to 15,000 people marched through Manhattan November 12 protesting California's Proposition 8, the voter-passed initiative that amended the state constitution November 4 to end same-sex marriage, which had been legalized by the state Supreme Court in a ruling that took effect June 16.

The march began at the Mormon temple on Columbus Avenue at 65th Street, went down Broadway, turned east on 61st Street, then south on Central Park West to Columbus Circle.

As much as half of the money that funded the ubiquitous TV ads that convinced Californians to vote for Prop 8 was donated by Mormon families at the church's urging, Prop 8's backers have said.

Estimates of the turnout for the march varied. Journalist and radio personality Michelangelo Signorile reported 15,000; lead organizer Corey Johnson estimated 12,000; blogger and participant Joe Jervis (Joe.My.God.) said 10,000 to 15,000; former New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Norman Siegel said he was comfortable with a figure of 7,500; and longtime Gay activist Bill Dobbs, who opposes same-sex marriage, favoring civil unions instead, said 5,000 to 7,000.

"Tonight was an amazing success and I was proud of New York City standing in solidarity with California and getting people out in the streets doing something meaningful," said Johnson, who is director of government affairs at a Wall Street real-estate development firm and political director of the popular Gay blog Towleroad.

California's Supreme Court has been asked to delete Prop 8 from the constitution, and a ruling is expected relatively quickly. The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and other parties say Prop 8 illegally "revised" the state constitution rather than merely amending it.

A constitutional revision requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to begin the process, while an amendment can be placed on the ballot simply by collecting enough voter signatures on petitions, as was the case with Prop 8.

"Proposition 8 is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the constitution's core commitment to equality for everyone by eliminating a fundamental right from just one group - Lesbian and Gay Californians," the legal groups said.

"Proposition 8 also improperly attempts to prevent the courts from exercising their essential constitutional role of protecting the equal protection rights of minorities," the groups said.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on November 10 expressed support for overturning Prop 8.

"This will go back to the Supreme Court because the Supreme Court very clearly in California has declared this unconstitutional," Schwarzenegger told CNN. "It's the same as in the 1948 case when blacks and whites were not allowed to marry. This falls into the same category. So, I think that we will again, you know, maybe undo that, if the court is willing to do that, and then move forward from there and again lead in that area."

Schwarzenegger also urged Gay Californians to "never ever give up" on marriage equality.

"They should be on it and on it until they get it done," he said.



Same-sex marriages begin in Connecticut
Same-sex couples began marrying in Connecticut on November 12 after final judgment was entered in a case decided by the state Supreme Court on October 10.

In a 4-3 ruling, the court had declared that the state's policy of offering same-sex couples only civil unions violated that state constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.

One report, based on partial data, said 66 marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples across the state in the initial hours after same-sex marriage became legal.

With California voters' recent decision to re-ban same-sex marriage, Massachusetts is the only other U.S. state where Gay couples can marry.

The California move, which amended the state constitution, is under assault in several new lawsuits filed with the state Supreme Court, and Gays and their supporters have staged numerous large street demonstrations up and down the state since November 4.



With assistance from Bill Kelley
pictures: Prop 8 protests
 

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