Patterico's Pontifications

9/1/2010

S.F. Chronicle visits Imperial County – what could go wrong? [Guest Post by aunursa]

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:24 pm



[The following post was written by Patterico reader aunursa and published at The Jury Talks Back. It has been promoted to the main page due to its exceptional original content. — P]

Tiny Imperial County could play a decisive role in the battle over same-sex marriage in California. In the 2008 election, citizens of the county, which is overwhelmingly Hispanic, voted by 62% for Barack Obama and by nearly 70% in support of Proposition 8. If Imperial County is granted standing to appeal Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision overturning Prop. 8, then it’s virtually guaranteed that the case will go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle featured a front-page article that completely distorted the positions of Imperial County civic and religious officials regarding same sex marriage and the county’s attempt to defend Proposition 8 in court. The article, as described by the Imperial Valley Press, painted the county as a “queer-hating, Bible-thumping bastion of backwater bigotry.” I was disturbed by several aspects of the Chronicle reporting. According to the opening paragraph, Imperial County was “taking a lonely stand” — despite the fact that the initiative received support from 7 million voters. The county is described condescendingly as “an impoverished, sun-baked desert backwater pasted into the southeast corner of California”. One particular quote stood out like a sore thumb, in which the reporter summarized the position of county supervisors and religious leaders:

It’s not like we’re bigoted against gays and lesbians, they say. We feel Christian love for them. We just believe they are sinners, say county supervisors and religious leaders who are leading the pro-Prop. 8 fight here – and the sacred institution of marriage has no place for sinners.

The idea that sinners are not allowed to get married didn’t make sense to me, since everyone is a sinner according to the Christian Bible. I contacted four county civic and religious leaders to see if they agreed with the statement. All of them expressed disappointment in the article, and none recalls having made such a statement, and none of them agrees with it.

County Supervisor Wally Leimgruber spoke with the Chronicle reporter and photographer about the case for at least an hour. Leimgruber was interested in discussing the legal aspects of the case. However, when prompted by the photographer, he did respond that he agreed with the statement that the homosexual lifestyle is a sinful lifestyle. Fellow Supervisor Jack Terrazas did not recall himself or any other supervisor discussing marriage with respect to sinners. Terrazas wrote, “my reason for the appeal and the request to enter into the case was to follow the wish of the voters in Imperial County, who by an almost 70% voted for Prop. 8.”

Terrazas suggested that the reporter may have generalized the views of religious leaders and county supervisors as one view. So I checked with two members of the pastoral staff at Christ Community Church in El Centro. Associate Pastor Chris Nunn was portrayed in the article as a judgmental Bible-thumping bigot:

He opened up his Bible and began jabbing his finger at passages such as Corinthians 6:9-11, which lumps “homosexuals” and “sodomites” in with idolaters and thieves as being among those “who will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Nunn wrote to me that he was saddened by the distortion of his position in the article. “I can assure you that we did not say, nor do we believe that there is no place in marriage for sinners. I am a sinner. I am the first to admit it…. If I believed that sinners shouldn’t marry then I wouldn’t have been able to get married myself.”

Associate Pastor Steve Messick agreed that the article was “beyond recognition when compared with the topics and demeanor actually discussed during the interview with the Chronicle.” During our telephone conversation, Messick referred me to several passages from the Bible that discussed love and marriage. He also quoted Romans 3:23: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Obviously if sinners were excluded from marriage, then there would be no marriage in the first place. Messick was charitable to the Chronicle, saying that the distorted view was either a misunderstanding or a misquote.

A retired fish and game warden, Messick told the Chronicle about a memorable conversation he had during the battle over Proposition 8. On the street a lesbian woman yelled at him, “What have you people got against love?” He responded by going over and talking with her. Over and over the next half-hour, they discussed love from a personal and Biblical perspective. At the end of the conversation, Messick reports that the woman was moved to tears. Messick also discussed some of the ways that his church is impacting the local community. Located in a low income, high crime area, Christ Community Church is committed, in his words, “to seeing God change the area.” Its New Creations street ministry has helped hundreds of people affected by homelessness, substance abuse, and other afflictions. Yet none of this was reported — apparently it didn’t support the Chronicle’s desire to protray arrogant religious leaders.

I received no response to an email I sent to reporter Kevin Fagan.

However there have been a number of responses to the article itself. A letter to the editor criticized the “organized homophobia” of the “religious right”, claiming (based on the article) that church leaders want to deny marriage to gays and lesbians “because they are de facto sinners.” The Imperial Valley Press editorial called for Supervisor Liemgruber to be removed from office. And Leimbreiber forwarded correspondence that he received condemning him as a “bigot” whose “homophobic opinion” is “on par with the [mid-20th century] racism in the deep south”.

— aunursa

86 Responses to “S.F. Chronicle visits Imperial County – what could go wrong? [Guest Post by aunursa]”

  1. What a twatwaffle of a reporter! Great research and post aunursa.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  2. Yeah, I’m sorry I didn’t catch this one sooner. Great stuff.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  3. Their acquaintance with the truth is only in passing, if at all.

    JD (8ded14)

  4. I sure hope Aunursa’s post can gain some kind of explanation from Fagan. I think a major error has been identified that exposes a major example of prejudice against the sort of people who supported Prop 8.

    The way these people cannot have their laws defended by state level authorities is shameful. But any level of defense at all is enough to bring out the long knives.

    I remember Barbara Boxer sneering, in 2007, that ‘elections have consequences’. I believe to the recently former Republican chairman of her committee. But Boxer tonight reaffirmed the notion that only some elections have consequences.

    I don’t think this minstrel of Christian show the SF Chron is displaying is a good way to win the people over.

    Anyway, hope Kevin Fagan explains himself.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  5. Messick doesn’t just oppose gay marriage he’s against same sex partners having the same benefits that his christer pals get.

    Jeff Deyo, Joel Hamby, Steve Messick, Pete Mallinger, Alex Arroyave, Walter Colace, Father Ben Davis, Mike Johnson, Paula Goff, Marty Ellott, all representing the conservative Christian community, voiced their strong opposition to the District/CTA Agreement for 2001-2003 Agenda Page 9 Item 7, “Extend District paid health and welfare benefits to domestic partners, as defined in California Family Code Section 297.” The Board was reminded that they serve a conservative community that embraces traditional family values. The Board was urged to consider the financial implications for the future, if this item was implemented.[PDF]

    So even though the homos have to pay the same taxes, our christer friend Steve thinks it’s ok to mug them for so they subsidize the benefits of the people Steve thinks live to where Jesus would approve. But I don’t remember Jesus ever mugging homos like Steve advocates.

    In Steve’s version of conservatism, we use the power of the state to redistribute wealth from the homos to his christer pals.

    I think that’s sort of gay.

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  6. I’d not engage in conversation persons who use the terms “sodomite” to describe gays or “christer” to describe christians with whom they disagreed. Talking trash about those with whom you disagree is all the rage these days – indeed rage is all the rage.

    If a televised, actual “death match” between a hate-filled right-winger and a hate-filled left-winger were held who would win this modern gladiator match? Choose one:
    a). the right-winger
    b). the left-winger,

    c). the american television viewing public….

    Californio (a48a79)

  7. When will everyone with moderate or conservative views who has any contact with anyone from any type of media learn to never have any expectations of fair or honest reporting of that conversation?

    NO one should speak over the phone to any ‘journalist’ and neither should they be interviewed without witnesses and/or a recording being made. (Preferably a video.)

    This is the only way for people to act towards today’s so called ‘journalist'; as if they are a particularly dangerous adversary who will have no compunction of lying and distorting about what anyone may say.

    I’m amazed that after the last 5 years that so many that get involved with public controversy do not understand this simple fact.

    jakee308 (e1996a)

  8. They will just make it up, as they go along, haven’t we seen this movie, before

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  9. sun-baked desert backwater

    isn’t this an oxymoron ?

    Neo (7830e6)

  10. Comment by jakee308 — 9/2/2010 @ 2:51 am

    Just out of simple curiosity, is the San Francisco Comical even available in El Centro to purchase? And if not, would anyone in Imperial County even think to look @SFGate.com unless prompted to do so? I will humbly submit to you that, regardless of D or R, regardless of opinions on issues, the good suffering folk of Imperial County (27% Unemployment, highest in nation for metro areas) are rather peeved at having to even care what those freaks in Frisco think of them.

    Sometimes, it’s just best to leave certain folks to their own devices, especially when those certain folks are never going to be a part of your customer base.

    Brad S (9f6740)

  11. “So even though the homos have to pay the same taxes, our christer friend Steve thinks it’s ok to mug them for so they subsidize the benefits of the people Steve thinks live to where Jesus would approve.”

    Mr. Feets – Does that make it Okey Dokey to distort what they said in the newspaper?

    daleyrocks (940075)

  12. Brad S: why would anyone in Imperial County even think to look @SFGate.com unless prompted to do so?

    One of the supervisors wrote, “Kevin Fagan Staff Reporter, and Brant Ward Staff Photographer, of the San Francisco Chronicle came to Imperial County and spent two days here interviewing various residents.” I envision a close-knit community that rarely receives media attention. So when a reporter and photographer from a major newspaper show up to ask questions and take pictures, most everyone will be aware.

    aunursa (78b3b4)

  13. Looks to me like the San Francisco Chronicle is thinking of a new show: “Queer Eye for the Agricultural Guy”.

    The San Franciscans have always had contempt for the hicks in the sticks. San Francisco tort lawyer Mel Belli once came to Imperial County for a trial (this was in the early 50’s) and wore a pair of overalls to court. True story–one of the older partners in my law firm back in the late 60’s told of seeing Belli do this.

    Mike Myers (3c9845)

  14. Our little pikachu is always willing to stick up for the bumble media, if they are on his hobby horse, otherwise it’s epic fail time

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  15. Neo, strangeley enough, it isn’t. Imperial County is the hottest part of California (it routinely tops 100 degrees in October) and outside the farmlands the soil is one dry, but it’s also home to the single largest lake in all of California (the Salton Sea). In fact, the Salton Sea is the 2nd largest inland lake in the entire US that’s west of the Mississippi river.

    Official Democratic Talking Points (6f6c60)

  16. Last time I was interviewed by a reporter it was a disaster. Even if there is no actual animosity to your position, if the reporter doesn’t really understand the issue (and it was a theological issue I was being asked about) they’re almost guaranteed to mistake the tone of the response. I ended up sounding far more harsh in my response than I believe I was in the interview, because she boiled it down to what she thought was accurate. (In this case it was about differences in the way churches worship.)

    Best advice? Let them interview your enemies.

    Gesundheit (cfa313)

  17. My advice would be to take written questions and give written answers. AND require that any answer be included in full in any article.

    You can bet that the Hack has his questions written down.

    Also, if you must give an interview, record the session. Video the session if possible, in the same way Ezra Levant did.

    If the goal is ‘objective’ journalism, how can there be a problem? If that isn’t the goal, there shouldn’t be an interview.

    Jack (e383ed)

  18. no it’s wrong to distort things Mr. daley I just think the extent to which they are being distorty is probably not material

    If these guys aren’t rabidly anti-gay bonk you on your head with a bible bigot monkeys then they’re certainly reasonably good facsimiles I think.

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  19. Imperial County borders the county in Arizona where I live. I wonder if this reporter is aware this “impoverished, sun-baked, desert backwater” provides lots of fresh vegetables for the tables in San Francisco and all over the U.S.? Oh, but that doesn’t count.

    PatAZ (9d1bb3)

  20. Just like they didn’t know that Arizona provides a quarter of LA’s power needs

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  21. Comment by aunursa — 9/2/2010 @ 6:16 am

    While this son of small-town Great Plains America would agree, I would also state that the curiosity of a few citizens to the big-city reporter would soon turn into a combination of revulsion and dismissal by the rest of the close-knit community.

    Especially if the end product is a portrayal of “San Francisco v Imperial County.” Which, for most folk regardless of location and regardless of issue, smacks of an elitist town bullying a bunch of po’ folk.

    Brad S (9f6740)

  22. Comment by jakee308, Comment by Gesundheit

    And even if you have a sympathetic, understanding reporter and photographer, there is the editor that not only edits the article, but is in charge of the headline and photo captions. Had that happen once- whole half-page article slanted by the headline and photo caption.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  23. single largest lake in all of California

    That’s misleading.

    The Salton Sea is not a naturally occurring phenomenon. Up until the start of the twentieth century, it was a dry lake bed.

    An attempt to divert water from the Colorado river (from a point south of the border) into a channel to bring water back up towards Ontario failed: a flood overwhelmed the walls of the channel and broke through them, opening up a new channel that dumped water into the (below sea-level) dry lake bed in the center of the Imperial Valley.

    Since then, the lake has been kept from shrinking largely by irrigation runoff (it virtually never rains), and there have been constant problems with fertilizer-rich and pesticide-rich water killing off the birds in the lake.

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  24. Sigh. I have to concur with the statements above about journalists botching stories. If you do talk with a reporter, be sure to record the entire conversation. Knowledge you are recording may spur the reporter to greater efforts at accuracy.

    If you think the story is inaccurate, post the recording and transcript online, along with the story, and list the errors or misleading statements point by point. Then tell the reporter and your editors about the post, as well as sympathetic local bloggers.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fb9e90)

  25. Our LA Times friend James Rainey just made a boo-boo:

    FOR THE RECORD:
    ESPN.com: The On the Media column in Wednesday’s Calendar about ESPN.com and other online sports websites should have noted that the Los Angeles Times has a business relationship with BleacherReport.com, which provides co-branded pages to The Times in a revenue-sharing arrangement. The column also gave an audience figure for another website, SBNation.com, of more than 1.3 million unique visitors a month. That figure from comScore.com referred to one of the website’s principal pages, but SBNation operates 270 sites, which drew a total of about 4.7 million in the most recent month on record, according to the ratings service.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fb9e90)

  26. Mr. Feets – I think pezzydent Obama, who the citizens of Imperial County supported in 2008, should direct Kevin Jennings to hold fisting classes for the county’s teenagers in their public schools as a way of teaching tolerance and bridge building. That ought to settle the hash of those homo hating bible thumping christers, doncha think?

    daleyrocks (940075)

  27. I think it’s hilarious that a bunch of idiots got grossly misquoted and mischaracterized in the SF Chron. They should have known better than to even begin a discussion with a reporter from that paper.

    Seriously, Grow Up (335188)

  28. Knowledge you are recording may spur the reporter to greater efforts at accuracy.

    I’m sure Bradley’s advice is smart, but this is sad.

    Ya know, if these were Muslims being generalized as extreme by Glenn Beck, I bet a lot of ‘elites’ would freak. I wonder why that’s not the case, here.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  29. I don’t know how superhelpful that would be really. The best thing you can do for a kid in Imperial is buy them a bus ticket. Anywhere.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  30. It is infuriating that the attorney general in California does not respect the Constitution.

    Over in Texas, the attorney general knows his duty. See his brief here.

    Michael Ejercito (249c90)

  31. Mr. Feets – How does one claim a domestic partner for the purposes of benefits? Is there anything preventing someone from mugging the taxpayers or his employer by claiming the latest boy toy he met in the bus station bathroom as a partner? How often can someone switch partners for the purposes of benefits? If California sticks with civil unions or allows gay marriage, will the whole domestic partner benefit issue go away and force people to go through civil inions or marriages to obtain benefits?

    How does it work?

    daleyrocks (940075)

  32. I think there’s a form. They give us a form here when we start.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  33. “I think there’s a form.”

    Mr. Feets – They give people forms everywhere when they start, usually lots and lots of them.

    I’m asking about mechanics of the process.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  34. I can’t find anything in the handbook but I did learn that I have about $2000 of expenses they don’t have to reimburse mne for cause I’ve waited over 4 weeks after the quarter in which they were incurred. That will kinda suck but it’s my own fault.

    Also I’m not supposed to comment on blogs it says.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  35. Mr. Feets – Can I declare my unemployed college roommate who just moved to the state my domestic partner so he can get benefits even though neither of us are gay? What prevents that?

    daleyrocks (940075)

  36. *me* for

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  37. I don’t know Mr. daley maybe we should make it to where you guys have to get married if you want benefits… and then you can register at Macy’s and pick a china pattern

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  38. Please recall that the IV Press had the editorial cartoon that disparaged Nick Popaditch (http://tinyurl.com/35ehc4b) because of the patch on his eye, which was lost in combat.

    Stay classy, IV Press.

    John P. Squibob (882a08)

  39. sorry I have a slight hangover today I’m a little grumpy also it’s really really freaking cold in here cause I’m alone in the office so I set the thermostat at 65 and wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt…

    brrr

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  40. Michael E: the Attorney General of California interprets the Constitution differently and believes that the fourteenth amendment requires that the state not discriminate between straight couples and gay couples.

    He’s acting to enforce and protect the Constitution; he just disagrees with you about what that requires.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  41. “sorry I have a slight hangover today I’m a little grumpy also it’s really really freaking cold in here”

    Mr. Feets – Sack up and stop whining. You’re calling people a bunch of nasty names because they don’t agree with something you support and claim they are redistributing wealth in the process. I’m asking you some simple questions about the policy you so obstreperously support, but you can’t provide some simple answers. I want to know how the taxpayers are not getting mugged by this policy you support.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  42. aphrael, he’s disagreeing with the US Supreme Court about the Fourteenth Amendment as well.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  43. He’s sworn to uphold the actual law, not his own version of it. Maybe sometimes he needs to interpret, but he’s doing so in a novel way and in opposition to his employer, the State of California.

    I can think of many counterexamples that show this is not his place.

    On the other hand, Aphrael’s got a point anyway… who wants this guy to be the defender of a law he obviously doesn’t agree with? The state should fulfill her obligations by hiring people do defend the laws. If there is no one currently employed who can do this, we’re talking about the most saturated market for lawyers in the history of the world, and the AG can find a few zealous advocates.

    It’s a shame the people have to privately do the government’s job, as the government charges them so much to do things that aren’t its job.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  44. maybe I’ll feel stronger after some tasty brownies

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  45. I just meant that these people’s hangups go a lot beyond gay marriage. In these sinful sinful times of immense privation and spiritual desperation I think it’s nice that these guys have so much time on their hands to persecute the homo.

    That’s the Lord’s work right there.

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  46. some of that might be the brownies talking

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  47. Michael E: the Attorney General of California interprets the Constitution differently and believes that the fourteenth amendment requires that the state not discriminate between straight couples and gay couples.

    So why does not Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott follow this interpretation?

    Michael Ejercito (249c90)

  48. The Texas 5th Circuit upheld the Texas marriage amendment against a 14th Amendment challenge .

    Michael Ejercito (249c90)

  49. “I just meant that these people’s hangups go a lot beyond gay marriage.”

    Mr. Feets – Your welcome to your opinions. I would just like you to back up your assertions about the muggings and redistributioning of wealth. I have not seen cockadoodle doo proof from yoo on how to avoid it becoming a big scam. They are serious questions. Can anybody shed some light on how the program works?

    Jake Blues (940075)

  50. That was me.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  51. no it’s wrong to distort things Mr. daley I just think the extent to which they are being distorty is probably not material

    HF likes fake but accurate. And accurate in turn is based on his ability to read minds, like the libs who know opposition to the Ground Zero mosque is based on Islamophobia, opposition to Obamacare is racists etc.

    Gerald A (2b94cf)

  52. SPQR, yes, he is.

    But when we elect elected officials, don’t we expect them to exercise their own judgment? I mean, sure, the attorney general cannot violate the law, but I think arguing (in good faith) a legal position which says, basically, “the law as currently interpreted is wrong and here is why” is entirely within the scope of his duties, and it’s the kind of discretion that such officials are entitled to exercise.

    aphrael (d282ac)

  53. Since nobody was able to answer my questions, I did a little digging today starting on a City of San Francisco web site. The benefits handbook for city employees says to be eligible for coverage, domestic partners must be registered domestic partners. In California this apparently involves a submission to the Secretary of State. Undoing the domestic partnership is like dissolving a marriage and involves the division of property and potential support agreements. It involves either a Superior Court or less likely, merely the Secretary of State. Given the seriousness of the potential obligations, not a declaration to be taken lightly.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  54. aphrael: When the issue isn’t settled law — as in this case — the question of whether a law is unconstitutional should be left to the judicial branch.

    Otherwise the result would be capricious: The defense of any law would be determined by the whims of whichever politician is in charge. Any governor or AG could negate a law that he opposes simply by refusing to contest (or in this case appeal) a case brought against it.

    aunursa (1b5bad)

  55. oh. So there you go. But I think at my company you just have to fill out a form. It’s real easy cause NG did it for her boyfriend person and they haven’t gotten married yet.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  56. daleyrocks, in Texas, it takes several months to get a divorce. I don’t suppose there was anything in that handbook indicating it takes as long to terminate a domestic partnership?

    Perhaps others could fill me in on that. I think such an arrangement should be a serious hassle to terminate.

    And I know this is going to mark me as strange, but I like the idea of adultery being a crime. Not a felony, and with our civil rights difficult to proof in many cases, but it should be a crime. And it should impact the conditions of a termination of a marriage.

    One of the big arguments against (and for) gay marriage has to do with the value of having a single partner. This is extremely valuable. Gays in marriages, if they are faithful, are much safer and probably impact health care much less. Same is true for straight couples.

    And either type of couple, with a family, is better off if they are faithful. Perhaps a judge would say there is no rational basis for this view, but I’m right.

    Perhaps gay marriage, plus an adultery penalty, would satisfy everyone, and I think it would also lead to a better society.

    to the objection that this is a matter of privacy: I’m not suggesting we violate the 4th Amendment.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  57. Aunursa – I don’t think it’s fair to characterize this as being settled law.

    We have a very curt statement from the Supreme Court that says that restricting marriage to heterosexual couples presents no federal question, which contained no analysis of the issue, and which predates (a) Lawrence, and (b) Romer, and therefore is based on an entirely different conception of federal law than that currently used by the courts.

    aphrael (d282ac)

  58. you gotta have faith before you give your heart away

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  59. Daleyrocks – under California law, passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, not overturned by Proposition 8 (and never the subject of a referendum because the organizers haven’t been able to get enough signatures to qualify it), domestic partnerships are almost identical to marriages (albeit under a different name).

    There’s some reason to believe that the supreme court decision in _Strauss v Horton_ (holding that all Prop 8 did was take away the name marriage) requires the differences to be abolished, but they haven’t been, and none of them have been litigated so the abolition hasn’t happened.

    Domestic partnerships in California would be dissolved via an identical mechanism to the dissolution of marriages.

    297.5. (a) Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.

    aphrael (d282ac)

  60. Dustin, I know people who are married but whose marriages allow intercourse with people not party to the marriage.

    I don’t think that arrangement should be a crime.

    (Nor do I think it’s immoral or unethical as long as everyone involved knows what is going on and has consented. I couldn’t do it, but my incapacity shouldn’t be binding on other people).

    aphrael (d282ac)

  61. Dustin, I know people who are married but whose marriages allow intercourse with people not party to the marriage.

    I believe these people should be allowed to live that lifestyle if they want.

    I also believe that we shouldn’t call that a marriage. Maybe a domestic partnership (I am not trying to say something about gays here). But if people get marriage and are not exclusive, we should call that something other than a marriage.

    It’s common for gay marriage proponents to point to defects in marriages out there as evidence that it’s not so sacred. I believe we should actually look at those defects.

    It’s not just about the morality, Aphrael. It’s about the fact that the concept of marriage is under attack. Not by gay marriage so much as a culture of very low responsibility. And I believe that this culture has allowed many of the other problems in our society, such as the insane pushing of debt to our next few generations.

    People should get married only if they want to be faithful. The benefits to faithfulness are strong, and society has great interest in promoting and rewarding it.

    Likely this is a fundamental difference of opinion we aren’t going to bridge, but I think the same rules should apply to gays. If they want to be married, exclusively, society should encourage this behavior because it’s good for society. It’s not good for society for gays or straights to have tons of sex with lots of partners.

    Arguably, this is none of my dang business. Until they ask society for a marriage license, IMO. Marriage should have extrinsic features, and we should consider what that means.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  62. People should get married only if they want to be faithful.

    I agree, but I think we disagree on what that means.

    The fidelity I owe to my marriage is the fidelity to the promise I have made my partner and to the promise I have made myself.

    In my case, that set of promises includes sexual exclusiveness.

    But I don’t agree that it per se must.

    Likely this is a fundamental difference of opinion we aren’t going to bridge

    Almost certainly. :)

    I think the same rules should apply to gays

    On that, however, I think I agree with you. (Except for the requirement that the couple consist of two people of different gender, which I think is irrelevant) there’s no reason whatsoever that gays and straights should be subject to different rules.

    aphrael (d282ac)

  63. “It’s real easy cause NG did it for her boyfriend person and they haven’t gotten married yet.”

    hf – That sounds very unusual. Most companies only allow such coverage for spousal units.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  64. Dustin and sphrael – There is a handy dandy FAQ and pamphlet on the CA SOS on the subject. One of the FAQ’s was on the impact of Prop. 8 on domestic partnership law. If Prop. * was sustained, the conclusion was that it would not change the existing rules surrounding domestic partnerships, which I agree, aphrael, sound like they were structured to mirror family law surrounding marriage.

    Dustin – No firm timelines were given, although the process would be quicker through the SOS than through a Superior Court seemed to be hinted. Six months sounded like a minimum. There were 13 conditions for being able to proceed through a dissolution process via the SOS based on assets, duration of partnership, lack of children, etc. They did not sound like may partnerships would meet the tests.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  65. Prop. 8 above, not Prop. *

    daleyrocks (940075)

  66. Daleyrocks –

    (1) the part in my comment up above, starting with 297.5, is from the California Family Code.

    (2) my conclusion about not changing the rules regarding domestic partnerships comes from the state Supreme Court decision in _Strauss v Horton_, the case which upheld Proposition 8.

    (In this particular issue, I’m following it closely enough and doing the research that my sources appear to be more up-to-date than the FAQ. :))

    aphrael (d282ac)

  67. “I’m following it closely enough and doing the research that my sources appear to be more up-to-date than the FAQ.”

    aphrael – The most recent court decision overturns Prop. 8, so I think the FAQ is designed to speculate on the ultimate outcome.

    I know you are following it closely and appreciate it.

    I learned some stuff digging around today since happyfeet was not backing up his assertions.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  68. most recent court decision overturns Prop. 8,

    ahh.

    ok, we’re sort of talking past each other, I think.

    The most recent California state court decision upholds Proposition 8, restricts it to just apply to the word ‘marriage’, says that it doesn’t impinge on domestic partnerships or the state constitutional requirement that laws discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation meet strict scrutiny.

    The most recent federal court decision says that Proposition 8, as interpreted by the state court system, violates the federal constitution.

    A ruling that overturns that decision and restores Proposition 8 would restore it as interpreted by the state courts. It’s extremely, extremely, extremely rare for federal courts to overrule state court interpretations of state law, and it’s unlikely they would do so here.

    aphrael (d282ac)

  69. aphrael: Please let me clarify. I firmly agree with you that it is NOT settled law … which is why the court — not the AG — should make the decision regarding the constitutionality of the initiative.

    aunursa (1b5bad)

  70. I can see why you could interpret my comment #54 as implying that the issue is settled law. I should have worded it more clearly.

    aunursa (1b5bad)

  71. I work at a super progressive company they rented a place wit teevees for so people could go watch bumblef’s inauguration even

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  72. I didn’t go I said I was expecting important calls.

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  73. “ok, we’re sort of talking past each other, I think.”

    aphrael – Right. We understand each other even if my details are fuzzier I think.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  74. “A ruling that overturns that decision and restores Proposition 8 would restore it as interpreted by the state courts. It’s extremely, extremely, extremely rare for federal courts to overrule state court interpretations of state law, and it’s unlikely they would do so here.”

    aphrael – Isn’t this what the appeal is about? I understand it is rare for the next level appellate court to challenge finding of fact by the lower court, but if they did, wouldn’t we be back to the situation where Prop. 8 would be restored as approved by the voters?

    daleyrocks (940075)

  75. Daleyrocks – Proposition 8, as approved by the voters, said that only marriage between a man and a woman is recognized in the state of california.

    The California Supreme Court, in hearing a challenge to that, said:

    (a) the process used to adopt it complies with the state constitution;
    (b) the proposition doesn’t violate the state constitution;
    (c) the proposition only applies to the word ‘marriage’ and does not have any effect whatsoever on domestic partnerships.

    That decision was not appealed. It probably couldn’t have been.

    A seperate lawsuit in federal court led to a district court saying:

    (a) Proposition 8 violates the federal constitution.

    If that is overturned in the federal courts, then we go back to the situation before that lawsuit: the California Supreme Court decision interpreting Proposition 8 to only apply to the word ‘marriage’ still holds.

    aphrael (d282ac)

  76. In other words – nobody is asking the federal courts to overturn the state court’s interpretation of state law.

    The federal case is abotu whether the state law (as interpreted) conflicts with federal law.

    aphrael (d282ac)

  77. We have a very curt statement from the Supreme Court that says that restricting marriage to heterosexual couples presents no federal question, which contained no analysis of the issue, and which predates (a) Lawrence, and (b) Romer, and therefore is based on an entirely different conception of federal law than that currently used by the courts.

    Lawrence and Romer are distinguishable from Baker. Lawrence dealt with private acts, and marriage has a public component. The Supreme Court had in fact, denied cert to an appeal of State v. Holm, a Utah Supreme Court ruling which upheld an anti-bigamy law, and rejected the notion that Lawrence invalidates laws placing restrictions on marriage. Romer dealt with a law that denied protections across the board.

    The Texas 5th Circuit rejected arguments that Lawrence and Romer invalidates the Texas marriage amendment to the extent that the amendment denies granting divorces to same-sex couples married in other jurisdictions.

    Michael Ejercito (249c90)

  78. Sure, they’re distinguishable. But they haven’t been distinguished by a court with binding authority over California, and the complete lack of analysis in Baker makes it somewhat difficult to say what the rationale in the decision was, let alone whether it is inconsistent with/undermined by subsequent decisions.

    Note that California is not bound by 5th Circuit decisions, and while they have some persuasive authority, neither is the 9th Circuit.

    aphrael (d282ac)

  79. Sure, they’re distinguishable. But they haven’t been distinguished by a court with binding authority over California, and the complete lack of analysis in Baker makes it somewhat difficult to say what the rationale in the decision was, let alone whether it is inconsistent with/undermined by subsequent decisions.

    However, it is up to the Supreme Court to determine whether or not Baker is incompatible with later decisions.

    From De Quijas v. Shearson, 490 U.S. 477,

    We do not suggest that the Court of Appeals, on its own authority, should have taken the step of renouncing Wilko. If a precedent of this Court has direct application in a case, yet appears to rest on reasons rejected in some other line of decisions, the Court of Appeals should follow the case which directly controls, leaving to this Court the prerogative of overruling its own decisions.

    From State Oil co. v. Khan, 522 U. S. 3

    The Court of Appeals was correct in applying that principle despite disagreement with Albrecht, for it is this Court’s prerogative alone to overrule one of its precedents.

    From Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558

    The majority opinion indicates that the Court of Appeals considered our decision in Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U. S. 186 (1986), to be controlling on the federal due process aspect of the case. Bowers then being authoritative, this was proper.

    From Chief Judge Alex Kozinski’s dissent in Silveira v. Lockyer, 312 F.3d 1052 (since vindicated by McDonald v. Chicago)

    As an inferior court, we may not tell the Supreme Court it was out to lunch when it last visited a constitutional provision.

    The real kicker in this case is the followi8ng quote repeated in Murphy v. Ramsey, 114 U.S.Davis v. Beason, and United States v. Bitty:

    Michael Ejercito (249c90)

  80. The real kicker in this case is the followi8ng quote repeated in Murphy v. Ramsey, 114 U.S. 15, Davis v. Beason, 133 U.S. 333and United States v. Bitty, 208 U.S. 393:

    If we concede that this discretion in Congress is limited by the obvious purposes for which it was conferred, and that those purposes are satisfied by measures which prepare the people of the territories to become states in the Union, still the conclusion cannot be avoided that the act of Congress here in question is clearly within that justification. For certainly no legislation can be supposed more wholesome and necessary in the founding of a free, self-governing commonwealth, fit to take rank as one of the coordinate states of the Union, than that which seeks to establish it on the basis of the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guarantee of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement.

    Michael Ejercito (249c90)

  81. Ejercito, what are you using for legal research? Thanks for the quotations, btw.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  82. Michael Ejercito: and none of these indicate that it is inappropriate for an attorney general, in his capacity as advocate, to decide to take a particular position on whether or not there is an inconsistency which requires a preceding case to be revisited.

    aphrael (d282ac)

  83. All clients are entitled to a zealous advocate. Who is the AG’s client, Aphrael?

    If you felt you were simply not capable of the flexibility to represent your client, wouldn’t you resign? I think the AG is still drawing a check, in spite of the fact that his legal view stands against towers of precedent and the people.

    I respect him for that, actually. But he probably could have found a representative, at the state’s dime.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  84. aphrael – It is clear we are talking past each other but getting to the same place. The FAQ on the SOS website said if Prop. 8 is upheld, e.g. not found unconstitutional, there would be no impact on domestic partnerships. We agree on that. We may disagree over whether the 9th Circuit will overturn or take other action on Judge Walker’s ruling, including questioning his finding of facts.

    I was not making any references back to the California Supreme Court ruling.

    Again, I appreciate you taking the time to lay out the different decisions.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  85. Ejercito, what are you using for legal research? Thanks for the quotations, btw.

    Justia.Com.

    I figured that the Mormon anti-polygamy cases would be relevant. And we can conclude that if seeking to establish a “free, self-governing commonwealth “on the basis of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony” was “wholesome and necessary” enough to uphold a law, which prohibited polygamists and advocates of breaking anti-polygamy laws from voting, against any constitutional or legal objection (as the Supreme Court did in Davis), then surely a law that officially defines marriage according to its historical and traditional definition would likewise be justified against any constitutional or legal objection.

    Michael Ejercito (249c90)

  86. The County of Imperial’s brief is here.

    Michael Ejercito (249c90)


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