6

RNC votes unanimously against same-sex marriage

Rebranding only goes so far. From Time magazine:

The Republican National Committee voted unanimously Friday to reaffirm the party’s commitment to upholding the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, upending party efforts to grow support among younger voters.

A resolution introduced Wednesday by Michigan committeeman Dave Agema, who came under fire last month for posting an article describing gays as “filthy” on his Facebook page, passed the full RNC by a voice vote and without debate. A second resolution reaffirming “core values” of the party — including opposition to same-sex marriage — was also passed.

[snip]

Republican Party officials bristle at coverage of the controversy. “While we have to do things differently, there’s one thing that can’t and won’t change: our principles,” said RNC chairman Reince Priebus.

Evan Wolfson, president and founder of Freedom to Marry, was quick on the draw with a statement.

“With Republican support for the freedom to marry increasing every day — aided by the journeys of leaders like Senators Mark Kirk and Rob Portman — the RNC is showing itself out of touch with this resolution,” he said. “A party that claims to value individual freedom, personal responsibility, family stability, and limited government should be embracing the freedom to marry, as have a growing majority of young Republicans. RNC leaders would do well to align themselves with these supporters, who represent the party’s future, instead of digging in against the right side of history.”

But I’d be shocked if Wolfson or anyone else seriously thought the RNC wouldn’t pass such a resolution.

1

SCOTUS delays deciding if it will review Prop. 8

Californians on both sides of the gay-marriage debate will have to wait a bit longer to hear whether and how the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in.

Though the high court originally had been scheduled to confer next Tuesday, Nov. 20 on whether to take a case challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 of 2008 – which added a same-sex marriage ban into the state constitution – the justices will now consider it Friday, Nov. 30 instead, with an announcement expected Dec. 3.

If the court decides not to review the case, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ Feb. 7 ruling will stand, invalidating Proposition 8 and allowing gay marriages to resume in California.

The court also moved from Nov. 20 to Nov. 30 its consideration of whether to accept several cases challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 statute barring gay marriage for all matters of federal law.

3

Who’ll decide the future of marriage in California?

I and my colleague Howard Mintz wrote an article today about how four other states’ votes in favor of gay marriage this week might or might not affect California’s situation on that issue. Here’s a tidbit that didn’t make it into the story:

Even if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds both California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, it might not fall to activists alone to make a renewed electoral push for same-sex marriage in California, suggested Rick Jacobs, chairman of the Courage Campaign, a Los Angeles-based progressive activist network claiming more than 750,000 members nationwide.

Thanks to this week’s elections, Democrats now hold supermajorities in both chambers of California’s Legislature as well as the governor’s office, Jacobs noted. Should the courts fail the movement, he said, “I can imagine a scenario … wherein we wouldn’t even have to pay the money to put it on the ballot: The Legislature and the governor could do it.”

Gil Duran, spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown, responded that “it is premature to speculate on these matters while the case is pending before the United States Supreme Court.”

Similarly, John Vigna, spokesman for Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, said “the Speaker believes this discussion is premature because the case is still before the courts, and the Speaker is very confident that the courts will invalidate Proposition 8 because of the eloquent and powerful case made by the plaintiffs and cited by Judge Walker in his decision ruling Proposition 8 as unconstitutional.”

But state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, seemed to embrace Jacobs’ idea: “I’m open to any and all ways to promote the cause of marriage equality and civil rights for all people.”

2

Prop. 8 committee fined $49,000 for violations

California’s political watchdog agency today slapped the committee behind 2008’s Proposition 8 – the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage – with a $49,000 fine for campaign finance reporting violations involving more than $1.3 million in contributions.

According to the Fair Political Practices Commission, ProtectMarriage.com-Yes on 8 and its treasurer, David Bauer, “failed to file late contribution reports in a timely manner; failed to file in a timely manner, contributions of $1,000 or more received during the 90-day election cycle ending on November 4, 2008; failed to file contributions of $5,000 or more in a timely manner, in an online campaign report within ten business days of receipt; failed to properly dispose of an anonymous $10,000 contribution received on or about October 28, 2008; and failed to disclose occupation and/or employer information regarding persons who contributed $100 or more” – 18 distinct violations in all.

“The total amount of contributions not timely reported on these reports is approximately $654,424, which is approximately 2% of the total contributions received by Respondent Committee during the audit period,” commission staffers wrote of the late contribution reports, in an exhibit to the stipulation agreed to by ProtectMarriage.com. Staffers noted “there are no cases that are similar in size and amount of contributions received that have been considered by the Commission in the recent past.”

ProtectMarriage.com also “failed to disclose 188 contributions of $1,000 or more totaling $582,306 during 90-day period before the November 4, 2008 General Election within 24 hours of receipt in online campaign reports,” the exhibit said. It also failed to disclose contributions of $5,000 or more on or about July 21, 2008 and August 5, 2008, totaling $95,000.

10

Local House members pose for NOH8 Campaign

As the federal court drama over Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage continues, three Bay Area members of Congress have loaned their likenesses to a national campaign for same-sex marriage rights.

The NOH8 Campaign, now in its fourth year, is “a photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8,” according to its website. “Photos feature subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world, with ‘NOH8’ painted on one cheek in protest.”

The campaign went to Capitol Hill last week to ask members of Congress to pose; 10 members, all Democrats, did so.

Jackie Speier

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough: “NOH8 because we are a country of equality and inclusion, not hate and segregation. NOH8 because the state should not dictate love or marriage. I proudly join with the NOH8 campaign to stand up for marriage equality and oppose laws that suppress it.”

Lynn Woolsey

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma: “I’m proud to participate in this extraordinary campaign, to make this statement of protest against the treatment of LGBT Americans as second-class citizens. I believe this is the defining civil rights struggle of our time — where you stand today on marriage equality will determine how you are judged by history. What’s at stake is the human dignity of LGBT people. To deny equal rights and freedoms based on sexual orientation does violence to American values.”

Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland: “Hate does not belong in our communities, families, schools, or the workplace, and certainly not in our government.”

4

GOP presidential candidates discuss Prop. 8 ruling

Mitt Romney issued this statement on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional:

“Today, unelected judges cast aside the will of the people of California who voted to protect traditional marriage. This decision does not end this fight, and I expect it to go to the Supreme Court. That prospect underscores the vital importance of this election and the movement to preserve our values. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and, as president, I will protect traditional marriage and appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written and not according to their own politics and prejudices.”

Newt Gingrich responded to the ruling with a Tweet – “Court of Appeals overturning CA’s Prop 8 another example of an out of control judiciary. Let’s end judicial supremacy” – with a link to a section of his platform in which he promises to “(r)estore the proper role of the judicial branch by using the clearly delineated powers available to the president and Congress to correct, limit, or replace judges who violate the Constitution.

I’ve not yet seen statements from Rick Santorum, who is dead-set against same-sex marriage, or Ron Paul, who believes government has no place in the marriage issue but personally believes marriage is only between a man and a woman.

UPDATE @ 2:31 P.M.: Gingrich just issued this statement:

“With today’s decision on marriage by the Ninth Circuit, and the likely appeal to the Supreme Court, more and more Americans are being exposed to the radical overreach of federal judges and their continued assault on the Judeo-Christian foundations of the United States.

“I was drawn back into public life by the Ninth Circuit’s 2002 decision that held that the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance were unconstitutional. Today’s decision is one more example that the American people cannot rest until we restore the proper rule of the judicial branch and bring judges and the Courts back under the Constitution.

“The Constitution of the United States begins with ‘We the People;’ it does not begin with ‘We the Judges.’ Federal judges need to take heed of that fact.

“Federal judges are substituting their own political views for the constitutional right of the people to make judgments about the definition of marriage.

“The country has been here before. In 1856, the Supreme Court thought it could settle the issue of slavery once and for all and impose a judicial solution on the country. In 1973, the issue was abortion and once again a Supreme Court thought that it could impose a judicial solution on the country once and for all.

“Judicial solutions don’t solve contentious social issues once and for all.

“Should the Supreme Court fail to heed the disastrous lessons if its own history and attempt to impose its will on the marriage debate in this country by affirming today’s Ninth Circuit decision, it will bear the burden of igniting a constitutional crisis of the first order.

“The political branches of the federal government, as well as the political branches of the several States, will surely not passively accept the dictates of the federal judiciary on this issue. An interventionist approach by the Court on marriage will lead to a crisis of legitimacy for the federal judiciary from which it may take generations to recover.”

UPDATE @ 4:20 P.M.: Santorum tweets, “7M Californians had their rights stripped away today by activist 9th Circuit judges. As president I will work to protect marriage.”