Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Lorri Jean Has Online 'Dust Up' With Heterosexual Supremacist

Not to be outdone by Capitol Weekly's coverage of the looming anti-gay statewide ballot measure fight for 2008, the Los Angeles Times has added an opinion feature to it's website where the CEO of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, Lorri Jean, another of my Gay Heroes, will be doing online verbal tussling with Ron Prentice of the California Family Council, a heterosexual supremacist organization.

It's actually pretty interesting, Prentice starts with a post entitled "The People Have Already Spoken":

Hello Lorri! I look forward to our dialogue this week, as there is sincerity and conviction on both sides of the issue. So why the push for a constitutional amendment [pdf] to limit marriage as only between a man and a woman? Because the homosexual lobby and the California Legislature continue a full-court press to disregard the decision of California's voters. Placing the definition of marriage into the state constitution will stop the persistent attempts to disassemble Proposition 22, disallow the manipulations of the state Assembly and Senate regarding marriage and direct the courts to abide with marriage's traditional definition.

Seven years ago, two diverse cultural perspectives were making their way into California law. In January of 2000, the registry for domestic partnerships was approved by the Legislature, with a response from California's voters coming in March of the same year. Proposition 22 was a people's initiative to legally protect the long-held definition of marriage in California — as only between a man and woman. More than 61% of California's voters approved Proposition 22, but politicians and judges continue to chip away at this statute, ignoring the will of the people of the state.Since 2000, California legislators have passed nearly 20 additional bills that bolster the legal benefits of domestic partnerships. Now, homosexual couples benefit from all the rights, privileges and responsibilities given to married couples. [emphasis added] The intent of Proposition 22 is being disregarded legislatively, but it doesn't stop there.

In 2005, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer ruled that California can no longer justify limiting marriage only to heterosexual couples. Kramer's opinion was overruled by the California Court of Appeal, and the California Supreme Court is scheduled to render its decision on the constitutionality of Proposition 22 by mid-2008.

Gee, it's hard to have a debate when one side starts off by flatly mistating the underlying facts of the case. If Mr. Prentice really thinks that "homosexual couples benefit from all the rights, privileges and responsibilities given to married couples" by participating in registered domestic partnerships why doesn't he get one? And why does he think that "homosexual" couples are trying to get married in California? Just for the wedding presents? You can already have a wedding (or same sex commitment ceremony) anywhere in the United States, what we are fighting about is equal treatment under the law by local , state and federal jurisdictons. Is that so hard to understand?

How does Lorri Jean respond? Her first post is entitled "The majority isn't always right" and she does pretty well:

Hello, Ron. Yes, I have no doubt that there is sincerity and conviction on both sides of the issue of whether same-sex couples should have the freedom to marry. But there is a big difference between both sides. Sadly, your side wants to hurt an entire group of people by excluding us from the rights, responsibilities and protections of marriage. Why? Simply because of whom we love.

It's not fair to hurt gay and lesbian people by denying us the freedom to marry. We are law-abiding, hardworking, taxpaying people -- your friends, neighbors, co-workers and even your family. We want the same things other Californians want. We want a decent life in which our loved ones are safe and protected. Your side wants same-sex couples and our families to be without the basic protections that other Americans take for granted. In fact, one of your sister groups is seeking to amend the state Constitution to not only deny us the freedom to marry but to take away all domestic partnership rights and benefits (which, by the way, do not provide all of the rights, privileges and responsibilities that go with marriage). Some groups opposing the freedom to marry even want it to be legal to discriminate against gay people in our jobs.

The truth is, Ron, you and I have a fundamental disagreement about much more than whether gay and lesbian people should be allowed to marry. Apparently, we disagree about one of the principles upon which our nation was founded: whether the tyranny of the majority should be allowed to prevail and oppress the minority. I don't think it should, especially when it comes to basic human rights.


The "will of the people" isn't sacred. Just because most voters may support something doesn't make it right. If a majority of voters believed that the best way to protect marriage were to completely outlaw divorce, that wouldn't make it right. If a majority of voters believed that only gay and lesbian people should be allowed to get married, that wouldn't make it right. If a majority of voters believed that interracial couples should not be allowed to get married -- as was the case in 1948 when the California Supreme Court struck down the laws prohibiting interracial couples from marrying -- that didn't make it right.

This is good, but I think Lorri could have poiunted to actual polling data which showed that large majorities of Americans (and Californians) did not support interracial marriage when it was legalized "by judicial fiat" in California's Perez v. Lippold decision in 1948 or the United States Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia in 1967. I do like the fact that she did not let Mr. Prince get away with stating the canard that domestic partnerships and marriage are identical without challenging the statement.

I would have also liked to see Lorri Jean call for a change in California law which would make initiative constitutional amendments subject to a super-majority requirement (say 60%) which is the case in Florida. But these might be quibbles...

I'll check back on the exchange later in the week...

1 comment:

Francis Holland said...

Markos Moulitsas (DailyKos) Opposed Gays in the Military

In the run-up to the YearlyKos annual gathering at which the Democratic candidates will be speaking, they're having a furious debate at DailyKos over a 1993 essay in which Markos Moulitsas said, "the demands and pressures of military life are incompatible with allowing integration with homosexuals."

I wonder how "progressive" Markos Moulitsas is going to explain this 1993 essay?

The Truth About Kos Blog


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