Category Archive: Gay Marriage

Feb 29 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 29, 2012

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California Railroad Museum, Sacramento, California

Good Morning and Happy Leap Year!

The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.

Events around the Capitol:

  • IMMUNIZATIONS: Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, unveils his Assembly Bill 2109, intended to ensure that parents are given accurate information about immunizations. The event runs from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in Room 444.
  • MORTGAGES: Attorney General Kamala Harris is joining Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and others to unveil what they’re calling the Homeowner Bill of Rights, a package of bills that would reform the mortgage process in the state. The presser starts at 11 a.m. in the Capitol’s Room 1190.

On to today’s California headlines:

Support for gay marriage takes dramatic leap in California, new poll shows

A new poll shows gay marriage has arrived in California – in public opinion if not in state lawbooks.

Golden State registered voters now favor same-sex unions by 59 percent to 34 percent, a 25-point gap that is the largest margin of support for the issue in the three-plus decades the Field Poll has been asking the question.

The new Field survey shows support has leapt markedly in the three and a half years since California voters approved Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage, 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent.

The poll showed increases in support virtually across the board – among voters under 64, non-white voters, Catholics, Republicans and nonpartisans.

Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said the move to a 25-point gap goes beyond the gradual increase in support that has been expected as young voters age and “replace” older voters in the electorate.

“This is now showing that opinions are changing irrespective of generational replacement,” DiCamillo said. “This is real change.”

As more states approve same-sex marriage – Washington and Maryland this month became the seventh and eighth states where legislatures have given their OK – the legal battle in California continues.

Game official: cougar killing no one’s business

California Fish and Game Commission President Daniel Richards said Tuesday that there is “zero chance” he will resign over a photograph showing him grinning as he holds up the body of a mountain lion he shot, killed and ate in Idaho recently.

In a letter addressed to Assemblyman Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, one of dozens of public officials who called for Richards’ resignation in recent days, Richards blasted lawmakers and others for their criticism of his hunting expedition and mocked their condemnation of the kill.

Richards wrote that he did eat a cougar for dinner, did not use a high-powered rifle and said he has “consistently supported” conservation efforts as a commissioner when they were backed by scientific evidence. He compared his actions to a California official gambling in Nevada.

While it’s legal to kill the big cats in Idaho, California has banned the hunting of mountain lions since 1972, and voters have twice renewed that restriction. After the photo surfaced online this week, at least 40 lawmakers and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom called for his resignation.

Newsom, in a letter, said the “actions call into question whether you can live up to the calling of your office,” and “do not reflect the values of the people of California.”

Richards was unapologetic.

Dan Walters: California legislators show their hypocrisy over hunting issue

Dan Richards, who chairs the California Fish and Game Commission, is under fire in the Capitol because he killed a mountain lion in Idaho and posed with his trophy for a picture that was later published on a hunting publication website.

Forty Democratic legislators signed a letter to Richards saying he should resign. “Your actions raise serious questions about whether you respect the laws of the people of California and whether you are fit to adequately enforce those laws,” the lawmakers told Richards. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom later joined the chorus.

So let’s get this straight.

First of all, Richards is not Dan Richard, who chairs the state’s High-Speed Rail Authority and has more than enough controversy of his own.

Back to Richards, the Fish and Game Commission chairman.

Mountain lion hunting is illegal in California, thanks to a ballot measure approved by voters in 1990. It is, however, not illegal for mountain lions to hunt human beings, as several attacks attest.

Nor is it illegal to hunt mountain lions in Idaho, and Richards’ trophy was perfectly legal. “I’m glad it’s legal in Idaho,” he told the Western Outdoor News website.

So Richards appears to be guilty only of offending the sensibilities of the Legislature, whatever they may be.

Herdt: Has the California GOP hit bottom?

Attending California Republican Party conventions in recent years as an observer has always been something of a surreal experience. They are gatherings of like-minded people who enter into convention halls and then pretend that there is no world outside.

I first attended one of these events in 1998. At that time there were 5.3 million Republican voters in California, 7 million Democrats and 2.6 million independents.

Fourteen years later, there are about 1 million more independents, about a half-million more Democrats — and about 200,000 fewer Republicans.

In other words, over the last 14 years the California electorate has grown by the equivalent of the entire population of Nebraska, but not a single one of those Cornhuskers chose to register as a Republican.

Enjoy your LEAP morning!

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Feb 21 2012

California Proposition 8 Supporters Seek En Banc 9th Circuit Review

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Most court observers and political pundits figured that the Proposition 8 supporters (California’s initiatve law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman) would directly appeal to the United States Supreme Court. But, I guess not.

Charles Cooper, the lead attorney for the proponents of Proposition 8, tells Metro Weekly that the proponents of the California marriage amendment will be asking the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to review the three-judge panel decision issued on Feb. 7 holding that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

Although Cooper, of Cooper and Kirk PLLC, told Metro Weekly the filing has not yet been made, the filing is expected later today as today is the deadline for the filing to seek en banc review.

The move almost guarantees that the U.S. Supreme Court will not consider the case before this November’s presidential election.

Usually, en banc review involves all of the active judges on the court, but the Ninth Circuit — due to the more than 20 active judges on the circuit — has adopted a unique “limited en banc” procedure in which all the active Ninth Circuit judges vote whether en banc consideration will be given but only 11 judges hear the en banc consideration. That will be the request made by today’s filing by the proponents.

This is an interesting development in gay marriage litigation and takes the issue away from the U.S. Supreme court during an election year. Since it is likely there will be a continued stay in the case, gay marriage will not be legal in California for at least a few more years.

Read the comments over at the Volokh Law Blog here where they discuss the probable rationale by the Pro- Proposition 8 supporters and possible scenarios in the case.

Stay tuned…

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Feb 08 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 8, 2012

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Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, Oceanside, California

The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.

On to today’s California headlines:

California Gov. Jerry Brown denies parole for 71 murderers

California Gov. Jerry Brown pardoned 21 people in his first year in office and rejected parole for 71 first- and second-degree murderers who had been recommended for release by the parole board.

Brown did allow for the early release of just one person, Tung Nguyen of Garden Grove, who was convicted of first-degree murder for his role in a motel-room killing in a dispute over money. Nguyen served as a lookout and did not know that his friend had stabbed the victim in the leg, according to a report from Brown’s office. The stab wound punctured the victim’s femoral artery, and he bled to death.

Nguyen was just 16  at the time.

Democrats gear up to fight part-time Legislature measure

A Democratic political strategist and a former Democratic assemblyman will help lead opposition to a proposed ballot initiative that would reduce California’s Legislature to part-time.

Political consultant Steve Maviglio, former spokesman for Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, said today that he has joined forces with Burbank attorney Dario Frommer, a former Assembly majority leader. Fundraising has not yet begun, Maviglio said.

The group will butt heads with Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, and with Ted Costa, the head of a political watchdog group, over the duo’s proposed constitutional amendment.

The secretary of state’s office gave the green light Monday for proponents of the proposal to begin collecting the 807,615 valid voter signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot.

Backers hope to encourage the election of citizen legislators who have outside sources of income and are not so politically ambitious that they become overly dependent upon powerful special interests.

The measure calls for the nation’s most populous state to meet three months per year – and for lawmakers’ pay to be cut from $7,940 per month to $1,500 per month – or $18,000 annually.

Jerry Brown affirming more releases of killers than Schwarzenegger, Gray Davis

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is far more likely to allow the release of paroled killers from prison than either of California’s two previous governors, newly released records show.

Brown let stand 331 of 405 – roughly 82 percent – of decisions to parole convicted killers by the state Board of Parole Hearings last year, according to an annual report to the Legislature released Tuesday.

By comparison, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger permitted the release of only about 27 percent of paroled killers, while Democratic Gov. Gray Davis’ numbers were even lower – about 2 percent.

California’s governor has a constitutional right to affirm, modify or reverse such parole board decisions. Brown reversed 71, modified one, and sent two back to the board to reconsider.

Herdt: A way to keep score in California politics

As he was wrapping up his just-concluded term as mayor of Ventura, Bill Fulton observed that the job was not without its political challenges.

“It’s pretty easy to be the mayor of Berkeley and it’s pretty easy to be the mayor of Bakersfield, but it’s pretty hard to be the mayor of both at the same time,” he said.

The point, for those unfamiliar with those two California cities, is that their politics are mostly homogeneous — polar opposites, to be sure, but internally homogeneous.

It’s more challenging to be an elected official in a city such as Ventura, where voters hold politically divergent views.

Thanks to redistricting, many politicians around the state now running for Congress and the Legislature are about to find out what it was like being in Fulton’s shoes.

Dan Walters: Proposition 8 ruling is aimed at U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

“Proposition 8’s only effect … was to withdraw from gays and lesbians the right to employ the designation of ‘marriage’ to describe their committed relationships,” the ruling declared, concluding, “the people of California violated the equal protection clause.”

Assuming that the case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court and that Kennedy is the deciding vote on the issue, would he agree?

Kennedy, a Sacramentan who worked for then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, is notoriously unpredictable, sometimes siding with the four liberals on the court and sometimes with the four conservatives.

But even were he to help overturn Proposition 8, the larger issue of whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry would remain unclear.

That would take another case and another day.

Enjoy your morning!

Here is a video of my former State Senator Tom McClintock discussing the economy with the Congressional Budget Office.

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Dec 08 2011

California Proposition 8 on Gay Marriage Back in Court Today

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Actually, there will be two hearings today at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Proposition 8 is back in the news as three federal appellate judges in San Francisco hear arguments in not one, but two cases related to the gay-marriage ban.

The first case involves the appeal of a ruling to allow the release of videotapes made during the original trial. That hearing starts at 2:30 p.m.

In the second case, Proposition 8 backers had wanted a lower court to overturn Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision declaring the measure unconstitutional, and their argument was this: Walker should have been disqualified from hearing the case because he was in a same-sex relationship. Their motion was denied. They’re appealing that decision. The hearing starts at 3:30 p.m

Note that the Justices of the three judge appellate panel are not hearing the main appeal of Judge Walker’s decision to declare California Proposition 8 unconsititutional. If you recall, Walker invalidated Prop. 8 which was a California State constitutional amendment (passed by the California voters) which defined marriage: “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

Stay tuned……

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Nov 18 2011

Flap’s California Morning Collection: November 18, 2011

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The Mustang at Los Angeles Auto Show

Behind the wheel of a new Ford Mustang at the Los Angeles Auto Show Media Day yesterday

The California Legislature is not in session.

On to today’s headlines:

California Supreme Court says proponents can defend gay-marriage ban

In a major lift for supporters of California’s same-sex marriage ban, the state’s highest court ruled Thursday that proponents of ballot initiatives can defend their measures in court when the governor and attorney general refuse to do so.

The California Supreme Court’s ruling sets the stage for the continuation of a legal battle over gay marriage that is drawing national attention and is widely expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the wake of the opinion, the federal appeals court that is considering the legality of the state’s gay marriage ban is expected to rule on constitutional questions at the heart of the measure.

The ban, Proposition 8, was approved by voters in 2008 but was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge last year. Legal arguments over the measure’s constitutionality had been on hold for months as the federal appeals court awaited this ruling.

NOTE: A unanimous decision

Initiatives target California law requiring gay history in schools

Foes of a new law requiring California public schools to teach students about the historical contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals have filed two proposed initiatives to challenge the statute.

One proposed initiative would repeal the section of Senate Bill 48 mandating LGBT history, leaving in place new requirements that students learn about the role of disabled individuals and members of different cultural and ethnic groups. A second would give parents the ability to opt their children out of instruction related to “social science and family life” that conflicts with their religious beliefs.

Both measures were filed with the state attorney general’s office by Richard Rios, who is listed online as the president of the Yorba Ranch branch of the conservative California Republican Assembly. Calls for comment to the phone number listed on the initiative proposal and Rios’ home were not immediately returned.

California school year might be trimmed by a week, report warns

California’s economic recovery is so sluggish it will likely force automatic budget cuts that could shave up to a week off the school year, according to a report Wednesday from the legislative analyst’s office.

The report projects a $3.7-billion hole in the current budget due to declining tax revenues. That gap is enough to trigger automatic reductions in spending on education and social services — $100 million from the budgets of the University of California and the Cal State systems each, as well as more than $1 billion in cuts to K-12 districts. The state would forbid those districts from laying off teachers but give them authority to cut the school year by one week.

The cuts are not a done deal. They will happen only if both the legislative analyst’s office and the state’s Department of Finance project a severe shortfall. The forecast from the Department of Finance is due next month. Legislators could try to make a last-ditch attempt to change the composition of the cuts, though Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed one such attempt in September.

Dan Walters: Jerry Brown’s budget gimmick falls short

Jerry Brown sought his second stint as governor last year by promising to balance the deficit- riddled state budget without gimmicks.

“Our state is in a real mess, and I’m not going to give you any phony plans or snappy slogans that don’t go anywhere,” Brown said in one ad. “We have to make some tough decisions.”

After winning, Brown conducted some showy public conferences and then proposed a budget that split the deficit between spending cuts and taxes requiring voter approval.

Sheriff’s Department reopens Natalie Wood case

Thirty years after Natalie Wood died off Santa Catalina Island, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced Thursday that it was reopening the investigation into one of Hollywood’s most enduring mysteries.

Wood, 43, was boating off the island on Thanksgiving weekend 1981 with her husband, Robert Wagner, fellow actor Christopher Walken and others when she somehow went overboard and died. Officials at the time ruled her death an accident, but there has been much speculation since over whether there was more to the story.

Enjoy your morning!

Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner during Look Magazine Party at Jimmy’s Restaurant in Beverly Hills, February 14, 1979 — WireImage

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