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Posts for May, 2008

Schwarzenegger Clarifies His Thinking on Marriage Decision

Timothy Kincaid

May 20th, 2008

about_arnold_img-2.jpg We have become accustomed to hearing our elected officials speak a specific language, one utilized by bureaucrats and designed to have no specific meaning. This allows them to sound authoritative (or compassionate or informed) without being held accountable for their positions.

So it can be refreshing when a politician says something directely, clearly, and in language we all speak and understand. I believe that Arnold Schwarzenegger did just that in explaining his response to the California Supreme Court decision to invalidate state law that restricts marriage to opposite sex couples.

From the San Francisco Chronicle

“First, I have always said that for me, marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said.

Then he added: “But I don’t want to make everyone else go in that direction.”

Schwarzenegger said he vetoed same-sex marriage legislation because he felt the Legislature shouldn’t override voter-approved Proposition 22, which had defined marriage as between a man and a woman and was nullified by the high court on Thursday.

However, the governor said he doesn’t necessarily feel the same when it comes to the Supreme Court overturning a statute enacted by a voter initiative.

“When the people vote, people are not legal experts, constitutional experts or any of that,” he said. “I think that’s why we have the courts. People may vote with good intentions, but then the court says, ‘This is not constitutional.’

“It’s not that the court interferes with the will of the people,” he added. “But the court says, ‘You voted for something, but it’s not constitutionally right, so let’s rework this.’ That’s really the idea.”

Oddly enough, that makes sense to me.

Perhaps this is not the most elequent statement, but it is a statement that I think can appeal to the average Californian. And I’m glad to hear it from our governor.

Schwarzenegger: CA has Bigger Fish to Fry than to Ban Gay Marriage

Timothy Kincaid

May 15th, 2008

arnoldsd6.jpgIn an interview with the Sacramento Bee the CA Governor spoke against the anti-gay-marriage initiative that may be on the November ballot.

“I think we have bigger fish to fry than do people have a right, if they are gay, to get married or not,” Schwarzenegger said. “I think that we should think about fixing the budget system and think about fixing the health care system and rebuilding California.”

He didn’t commit to a campaign schedule against the initiative

The Republican governor told The Bee’s editorial board he would not commit to campaigning against the proposed initiative, though he said he will make it clear that he is against it in other ways. He called the initiative a “big mistake.”

As many of the Governor’s staff are gay and are in committed relationships, I suggest that one way that Schwarzenegger could make it clear might be to officiate at a wedding.

Governator Supports Gay Marriage

Timothy Kincaid

May 15th, 2008

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement on the Supreme Court’s decision. From the San Jose Mercury News.

“I respect the court’s decision and as governor, I will uphold its ruling,” Schwarzenegger said within minutes of the ruling. “Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling.”

It’s A Win! California Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Same Sex Marriage!

Jim Burroway

May 15th, 2008

snoopy_happy_dance5b15d.jpgMarriage equality has arrived in California (PDF: 469KB/172 pages):

…[W]e conclude that the purpose underlying differential treatment of opposite-sex and same-sex couples embodied in California’s current marriage statutes — the interest in retaining the traditional and well-established definition of marriage — cannot properly be viewed as a compelling state interest for purposes of the equal protection clause, or as necessary to serve such an interest.

A number of factors lead us to this conclusion. First, the exclusion of same-sex couples from the designation of marriage clearly is not necessary in order to afford full protection to all of the rights and benefits that currently are enjoyed by married opposite-sex couples; permitting same-sex couples access to the designation of marriage will not deprive opposite-sex couples of any rights and will not alter the legal framework of the institution of marriage, because same-sex couples who choose to marry will be subject to the same obligations and duties that currently are imposed on married opposite-sex couples. Second, retaining the traditional definition of marriage and affording same-sex couples only a separate and differently named family relationship will, as a realistic matter, impose appreciable harm on same-sex couples and their children, because denying such couples access to the familiar and highly favored designation of marriage is likely to cast doubt on whether the official family relationship of same-sex couples enjoys dignity equal to that of opposite-sex couples. Third, because of the widespread disparagement that gay individuals historically have faced, it is all the more probable that excluding same-sex couples from the legal institution of marriage is likely to be viewed as reflecting an official view that their committed relationships are of lesser stature than the comparable relationships of opposite-sex couples. Finally, retaining the designation of marriage exclusively for opposite-sex couples and providing only a separate and distinct designation for same-sex couples may well have the effect of perpetuating a more general premise — now emphatically rejected by this state — that gay individuals and same-sex couples are in some respects “second-class citizens” who may, under the law, be treated differently from, and less favorably than, heterosexual individuals or opposite-sex couples. Under these circumstances, we cannot find that retention of the traditional definition of marriage constitutes a compelling state interest. Accordingly, we conclude that to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional.

Accordingly, in light of the conclusions we reach concerning the constitutional questions brought to us for resolution, we determine that the language of section 300 limiting the designation of marriage to a union “between a man and a woman” is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute, and that the remaining statutory language must be understood as making the designation of marriage available both to opposite-sex and same-sex couples. In addition, because the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples imposed by section 308.5 can have no constitutionally permissible effect in light of the constitutional conclusions set forth in this opinion, that provision cannot stand.

Plaintiffs are entitled to the issuance of a writ of mandate directing the appropriate state officials to take all actions necessary to effectuate our ruling in this case so as to ensure that county clerks and other local officials throughout the state, in performing their duty to enforce the marriage statutes in their jurisdictions, apply those provisions in a manner consistent with the decision of this court. Further, as the prevailing parties, plaintiffs are entitled to their costs.

The judgment of the Court of Appeal is reversed, and the matter is remanded to that court for further action consistent with this opinion.

Update: The court’s decision was a 4-3 split. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has released the following statement:

I respect the Court’s decision and as Governor, I will uphold its ruling.  Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling.

Gov. Schwarzenegger Opposes Gay Marriage Ban

Jim Burroway

April 11th, 2008

Scott Schmidt is at the Log Cabin Republicans Convention, liveblogging California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s address:

Speaking to the Log Cabin Republicans, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger came out against a ballot measure circulating in California to add a gay marriage ban to the State Constitution. Stating that he “will always be there to fight against that,” Schwarzenegger made one of his first pubic statements about the initiative constitutional amendment in circulation.

Californina Referendum Effort Fails

Jim Burroway

January 12th, 2008

Opponents of California’s new law which protects students from discrimination, harassment and bullying based on the basis of gender or sexual orientation in the public schools, announced yesterday they failed to collect enough signatures to put a referendum on the ballot to repeal the law:

In an e-mail announcement issued around 2 p.m. yesterday, which coincided with a Sacramento press conference, Karen England, director of the Save Our Kids Campaign, said backers of the referendum had collected over 350,000 signatures – more than 80,000 short of the 434,000 valid signatures needed to force a statewide plebiscite on the law in the June elections.

Last October 12, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 777 into law after an acrimonious campaign among social conservatives to persuade him to veto it. Opponents claimed that the law would “promote homosexuality” and “persecute” Christians.

Three days after Gov. Schwarzenegger signed the law, Capitol Resource Family Impact, a Sacramento group, filed a referendum with the state attorney general’s office. They then formed the Save Our Kids Campaign to collect signatures before the January 10 deadline to put the referendum on the ballot.

Never one to concede defeat, England tried to turn lemon into lemonade:

“For a completely volunteer-driven campaign to obtain this number of signatures is unheard of,” said England in her e-mailed announcement. “We had to overcome incredible difficulties during our signature gathering, including the holidays, and the results are astonishing. While we didn’t reach the threshold of required signatures, we have surprised political observers with the amazing amount of signatures we gathered in just 70 days. It is unheard of for a volunteer-only effort to find this kind of support, especially in a state as large as California.”

England also announced that with the referendum effort dead, they have filed an initiative with the Attorney General’s office and will begin collecting signatures again. Meanwhile, a legal challenge to the law is still before the courts.

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