Comments

  1. Sargon Bighorn says

    A federal law suit, well well. Things are moving full steam ahead. From what I understand these guys are challenging the right of a majority to take away a civil right from a minority. Is this the correct understanding? They are NOT arguing for civil marriage rights per se. Did my 6th grade education serve me well?

  2. Steve says

    Frankly, the established lgbt organizations response wreaks a bit of not wanting to lose control of the issue. The fact is that like it or not, the federal issue is sitting out there and someone is going to bring the lawsuit to pursue. I would rather have Boies and Olson being the attorneys making the arguments.

  3. EchoMark says

    If this is as important to Olson and Boies as they claim it is, WHERE HAVE THEY BEEN UP UNTIL TODAY? Google either of their names and ‘civil rights’ and you get nada.

    Boies has previously represented George Steinbrenner, Conrad Black, Michael Moore and Napster — no, he’s not in it for the headlines…

    Olson has made contributions to the campaigns of politicians including John McCain, Rick Santorum, John Cornyn, George Allen, Jon Kyl and Michael Steele — great advocates for LGBT equality all…

    These are fame-seeking lawyers who just want to be in the spotlight arguing ‘big’ cases. I don’t think they truly have our best interests in mind, if all of the LGBT legal advocacy groups that have been carefully setting up their cases for YEARS (e.g. Lambda Legal in Iowa) are AGAINST the idea of a federal suit at the current time.

  4. Bob Derby says

    I say go for it. I live in CA and Prop 8 is pure discrimination. It is wrong and should be fought. I am all for reaching out to people also but a hated minority is never going to win a popularity contest. I would rather fight for our equal rights. I support this lawsuit and I wish them the best.

  5. says

    The way I figure this, is that it will take years for their case to make it to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, we can continue the fight and in all likelihood, more states will come on board by that time. Sounds like a plan to me. I mean, how long does Lambda Legal or the ACLU want to protract this? Until they get a lawyer in place that has enough experience for oral arguments? Wait until the three conservative justices retire and/or keel over? I think not. The time is now, which in reality is at least four years from now, at best. What are you afraid of?

  6. PM says

    I know that sitting here in the UK I cannot grasp all the nuances of the for & against sides over this, but in principle I can only find it commendable.

    At some point someone has to go for the jugular and say that people cannot be legally distinguished by sexual orientation any more than they can skin color or ancestry, even if it accomplishes no more than exposing those at the very top by having them stand up and say THEY do not consider all Americans equal.

    Obviously I don’t know if Olson and Boies do have anything particularly repugnant in their pasts, but I certainly wouldn’t buy in to spurning them over not being loud advocates/gay themselves; that the advocates & LGBT folk aren’t/weren’t getting to the top is part of the problem, and is more likely to be rectified by getting major league players like Olson & Boies on the case.

    I think the advocacy groups may be quite correct that “the U.S. Supreme Court likely is not yet ready to rule that same-sex couples cannot be barred from marriage”, but there’s a world of difference between passing that judgement in quiet anonymity – as their bureacracy swallows a few earnest no-names – and justifying it under the glare of the world’s press.

  7. Quint says

    I really agree with Keith’s post.

    It will be a while before the Supreme Court will hear it. By then CA Prop will have passed restoring marriage rights to LGTB people.

    My only concern is if the timing could spark yet another culture war kicking Dems out of the White House in 2012.

  8. samwise says

    There will never be a perfect time. There will never be an exact alignment of the stars.

    I am not a very trusting person, but Olson seems legit on this. The time is now.

  9. Jack says

    Echomark:

    If they are in it for the fame, then they are just as committed to the cause, because they sure as hell don’t want to lose. Of course, I don’t read such nefarious intentions into it myself. Both are incredibly bright attorneys.

  10. jimwatson says

    @Sargon Bighorn: It seems they are, in fact, arguing for marriage rights to be granted by enjoining Prop8 and the CA statutes prohibiting equal marriage.

    @Steve: I think you have hit the nail on the head! If gays are equal, what will the alphabet soup of rights organizations do? Something useful, I hope.

    @Echomark: I think they’ve been waiting to be asked to argue a strong case like this. You’re right; they don’t go into a case lightly and they don’t want to lose. Neither of these legal powerhouses would have taken this case if they didn’t think they had a snowballs chance in hell. Please see Steve’s comment and my response in support of it.

    @Echomark: You’re right about Olson giving money to some very LGBT unfriendly people. He’s not a single issue person nor am I. Those people have views that are in line with what Olson (and I) believe on some issues. I encourage you to start looking for new issues because we WILL have equal marriage rights someday.

    For all the naysayers: Personally, I don’t care who argues the case but I can tell you that I am more willing to place bets on Olson/Boies than any of the others. I listened to the oral arguments and read the briefs of the Prop 8 case. They were crap. Those guys didn’t have a chance against Starr. Olson/Boies can (and will) hold their own!

    NOW is the time to push from every front. Continue to work on your neighbors and the folks in Fresno to overturn Prop8 at the ballot box. Continue to lobby the legislature to work on fixing this injustice. And, last but not least, support this effort to have a federal ruling on equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians.

  11. says

    I’m sorry I have never agreed with the “Ballot Box Issue” That is not a place where a Groups Civil Rights should be decided so I TOTALLY DISAGREE with the so called groups who have just done so well for us in the past.

    Its time to take to streets.

  12. ZnSD says

    Frankly I could care less about whether they have gay family friends or are gay themselves. If these two good ol’ boys want to take on SCOTUS to ensure my equality, have at it. And that press release from our lgbt and ally orgs? Personally I find is disgusting that they would encourage us to work this out through the polls. We don’t vote on people’s civil rights! Why is that so fucking difficult to understand? The fact that Prop 8 even made it to the ballot is offensive and plain wrong. These boys want to argue that very fact. And chances are they’ll win.

  13. Bosie says

    LAWSUITS sound AWESOME! The LGBT Org…have done much about nothing…SO FAR the change has come from the people and not “these LGBT Org” …SO go for it ….Fight it in the courts and the streets.

    Lawsuits…PS I’m from California & I SUPPORT ALL LAWSUITS.

  14. Martha says

    are they kidding with their press release?

    “fair-minded but misguided voters”

    They do not ONCE mention that we are battling religious bigots who view marriage as SACRED.
    They also hold onto fairytale that Obama will remove DOMA (which has led to thousands of ignored Massachusetts gay marrieds for years at the federal level).

    We are beyond the “awww aint it cute we have 6 states, now 8 , now 10″ phase—-
    it all doesn’t mean a thing if it’s not at the FEDERAL level.

    This is a FEDERAL war for Marriage Equality and the orgs (which clamored for donations via spam emails within minutes of the Prop 8 decision yesterday) do not GET IT.

  15. gibletl says

    I agree with Bosie! Where were the LGBT Organizations sending out these letters before the election. Just about all of the LGBT Orgs signing this letter did or said nothing as the protests hit the streets. All of the protests and marches were started at the grass roots level. We need to keep up the fight.

    Rob Thomas said it best today:

    “I believe the fact that an atheist, who doesn’t believe in God at all, is allowed to enter into the holy land of marriage while a gay Christian is not, shows that this law is arbitrary. Are we to believe that anyone who doesn’t live their life according to the King James Bible isn’t protected by the same laws that protect those who do? Using the same argument that I’ve seen on the 700 Club, that would mean that Jewish, Hindu, or Muslim weddings are also null and void.

    I believe that to deny this right to the gay population is to say to them, “this god is not your god and he doesn’t love you.” There isn’t one person who is against gay marriage that can give me a reason why it shouldn’t be legal without bringing God or their religion into it. Still, I’m amazed at the audacity of a small, misdirected group of the ultra-conservative Christian right wing, to spend millions of dollars, in a recession, on advertisements to stop two men or women who love each other from being able to be married, but when you present any opposition to them, they accuse you of attacking their religion. Isn’t it funny that the people who are the quickest to take someone’s basic rights to happiness are always the loudest to scream when someone attacks their right to do so?”

  16. anon says

    The problem is, if they “win”, then CA’s DP law gets struck down and gays will have nothing in CA. That’s unlikely though for several reasons. Prop 8 did not address CA’s DP law. The 14th amendment was not the basis for deciding Lawrence v. Texas and the current court is fairly conservative.

  17. Randy says

    It’s wonderful to see these two lawyers taking such a strong and principled stand, not just against the wiping-away of rights by a majority vote, but specifically for same-sex marriage itself.

    I’m confident that, based on many precedents including Loving, Romer, and Lawrence, they will be able to convince the US Supreme Court of the very obvious 14th Amendment violation that the California Constitution now represents.

  18. Caoimhin O'Cathail says

    Freedom to Marry et al. are hard working orgnizations who have advocated well for our community. They (et al) are several cards in a deck that dealt losing hands in CA and FL. It doesn’t mean they failed, it means they failed in CA and FL and mind you, they deserved to fail for political reasons already well covered in these posts from the November ballot question.

    Their fears about a federal court case are indeed old, but nonetheless true enough if you believe that courts cannot change and that new members will not make a difference. It’s worth a try. A court case timed with a couple of mass and disruptive protests – with special attention paid to the conservative religious and minority communities who don’t like us – might construct the perfect storm.

  19. Chris says

    The LGBT groups that some are arguing have been so ineffective secured the victory in California in the first place. Those same ineffective groups won marriage equality in Iowa, Connecticut and Massachusetts. They also went to the US Supreme Court and overturned criminal sodomy laws in the Lawrence v. Texas case and stopped Colorado’s discrimination in the Romer case. My trust is with those that know what they are doing. What five votes does Mr. Olson think he has on the U.S. Supreme Court?

  20. Javier says

    Lots of legally and politically clueless people on this thread whose type of naive thinking led to the Prop 8 fiasco in the first place. The black civil rights movement could have sent civil rights cases to the Supreme Court well before 1954, but they knew that the time and the cases were not ripe. They held back cases that could have gone through the courts sooner because they knew they would have lost before then. Almost all legal experts agree that gay marriage would lose bigtime if it ended up in federal courts. In fact, most scholars think that the liberal 9th Circuit is unlikely to invalidate Prop 8 at this juncture. A ruling against us from the federal courts would be devastating not only to California, but the entire nation. A ruling against us by the Supreme Court would be utterly catastrophic for us for decades to come. Once you have an anti-gay ruling from the US Supreme Court, you have a giant, legal club to bash gays with nationwide. Right now, we know that the majority of the Supreme Court is not with us. In fact, we don’t even know if liberals Stevens, Ginsberg, and Breyer would go so far as saw that the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection demands gay marriage. It is reckless to even suggest that these cases enter the federal courts with the current conservative composition in place.

  21. brian says

    The big momentum for this development was Iowa. Heartland, midwest Iowa – whose court unanimously ruled for equal rights. Do you really think the IA legislature – or popular vote – is for extending equal rights? Now that IA has succeeded through the courts, and CA has been held back through the legislative process (which many of our august organizations above were completely inept) – then the courts are the way to move forward.

  22. Bobeau says

    At this point it’s silly to assert that Boies and Olson will move forward inappropriately. These guys are not gunslingers… they are deeply respected collaborative, institutional types.

    Moreover the attorneys involved with LGBT civil rights are excellent. It’s unthinkable that Boies and Olson would disregard their strategies.

    I share the frustration expressed here with the LGBT leadership – but we should make a distinction between the LGBT political leadership and the attorneys working for LGBT rights. Our lawyerss are much sharper than our political types.

  23. Dan says

    Come on, these guys aren’t cynically trying to undermine the gay rights movement. I can understand people fearing that, but in reality, we have two very bright, very canny men with a lot of experience who have a serious shot at winning one for our side.

    Also, if the Supreme Court rules against gays and tries to enshrine discrimination against us for a generation, do you really think we’ll take it lying down? I think we have to keep fighting and pushing… things will go our way one day…

  24. ohplease says

    This is insane. This is Ted Olson, one of the most evil people alive. He is not doing this out of the kindness of the heart he does not have.

    It is very, very, very bad when the very individual who is responsible for Dumbya stealing the presidency, a right-extremist maniac whose mission is to destroy America, says he’s here to help.

    He is obviously only doing this to destroy us the best he can, because that’s what Ted Olson does.

  25. Dan says

    OhPlease, you need to relax a little. I can understand why you think that way, but David Boies is CO-COUNSEL with Olsen. If the two men who opposed each other can get together on this issue, you should be applauding them.

    I hardly think all the right-wing freaks are going to start filing pro-gay cases in federal court now, do you?

  26. Javier says

    Reliance on the courts has gotten us only so far. In fact, not far at all. Even the victory in Iowa is subject to be undone come the next election, when the angry electorate could vote in Republicans who will send the issue to voters who will likely pass a constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage there too. You see, the notion of the judiciary being pure from political or majoritarian rule is a fiction. Most state judges are elected and the rest of the judges are appointed by officials who are elected by the people. Elected judges naturally care about getting reelected, or in the case of California, being recalled. No one should blame them. Even appointed judges worry about unpopular decisions undermining the authority, credibility and respect of the courts. Courts, like politicians, don’t want to be too far of the public opinion. Further, any court decision can be undone by the people by either voting in judges in tune with the majority view or by amending state or federal constitutions. So not even US Supreme Court decisions are outside the reach of majority view. I think our reliance on courts is a crutch that keeps us from figuring out a strategy and message to convince the majority of AMericans to support equal marriage rights. It keeps us from going door to door; dialoguing with our churches, pastors, and synagogues; donating money; volunteering; raising up effective leadership; developing networks; and, generally engaging in effective debate in the public square. I hear a lot of talk about appealing cases to courts, but such scant discussion about how to persuade the majority of voters to our side.

  27. says

    What exactly do we lose? Our Federal protections – oh wait we don’t have any.

    I find it ironic that the very groups have sucked through millions without advancing the cause – HRC and NCLR – and are now asking for more money as we speak – are opposed. Why because it doesn’t line their coffers?

    Wait is never the answer to civil rights.

    For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This “wait” has almost always meant “never.” We must come to see with the distinguished jurist of yesterday that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.” MLK

  28. Javier says

    Seasons, would you prefer a definitive “NEVER” (from the Supreme Court) to a hopeful “WAIT?” You seem to misunderstand the seriousness of legal precedent in our system of government.

  29. X man says

    there’s waaay to much speculation on these comments; why would these attorney’s not fulfill the oath they took as attorney’s? The time will always not be right and the star’s will not always be aligned. This is the problem, too much debating and not enough doing.
    How long would this case take in federal court? How long would it take to get it on the ballot for 2010? cant we do both?

  30. Jeffrey says

    I just watched Boies and Olson on Larry King and they are the real deal. They are going to advance our cause. Olson is a conservative who is saying that this is not a liberal or conservative issue, it is a civil rights issue, everyone should have the right to marry the person they love. I love the idea of the conservatives on the SCOTUS hearing that argument from one of their own.
    Really, this is a dream team of two of the very top lawyers in the country coming together to argue for our rights from both ends of the political spectrum. This is a MAJOR development and we should be HAPPY about it. I know I am.

  31. Claire Richards says

    I am beginning to realize that being dumped by a Religious Narcissist is truly a blessing. I say this because to build a life with a Narcissist is to have no life at all. It’s has been an excruciatingly painful experience but I have grown a great deal. Relationships are not possible with Narcissists. Unless, however you want to live a life where you have no voice and are treated like a second class citizen. You deserve better.

  32. Pender says

    Winning in the Supreme Court means counting to five. On this Court, that means convincing Anthony Kennedy. And Anthony Kennedy has been with us in both cases that came before him: Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas. Both were considered to be longshots in different ways. Even if the Court is against us, they’ll be able to punt and refuse to reach the issue of marriage under Due Process and Equal Protection. And even if they reach the crucial issue and still find against us, it will not be hard for them to reverse themselves in even a year or two; all they need to do is cite how there is now an emerging national consensus, how X more states have adopted marriage equality and Y% of the country lives in a state that has it, blah blah blah our previous case is overruled. I seriously cannot picture Stevens, Breyer, Ginsberg or Sotomayor refusing to take that step even if we lose Kennedy, so as soon as a single right-wing justice is replaced that will succeed no matter what happens in this case.

    Go for it, Olson and Boies, and thank you!

  33. NoCaDrummer says

    Is this the “David Boies” who so brilliantly has fought for SCO against Novell, IBM, Damlier-Chrysler, AutoZone, etc., that SCO is now moving into Chapter 7?
    He won’t give up a good fight (or apparently a really lousy one either) as long as there’s money to be made. Most any other lawyer would have told them that they’re crazy to try to sue when they hold no cards.
    Not, apparently, Boies Schiller & Flexner. Damn the torpedos! Full Speed Ahead! (This would not bode well for our cause.)

  34. Mike says

    Gay rights groups have been waiting for this predictable response from the Cali SC for months. Why? Well money of course. They WANT more of our money to misspend. State by state wins could take decades. The only real fight is to the US Supreme Court. Yeah we can win this state and that state next but what does that give you w/out fed. benefits? It gives you something akin to civil unions even though they are marriages in that particular state. Even if we lose the first time, the fight is to go back to the US Supreme Court until they get it right! These two men are not stupid, they are on the right side of history and know that. Gay rights groups don’t want that because they will be out of a job.

  35. ZAS says

    I must have missed the rationale of those gay organizations… Which legal precedent is there that demostrates that a vote of the people of California is the right path to equality? I know that a few state courts have ruled in our favor. So have a few state legislatures. Governors too.
    But when have the people?

    Olson and Boies will argue for our Constitutional rights within the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Gay organizations should be lining up to support this move. It’s our right and it will be exercised.

    Our 14th Amendment and Equal Protection clause: “Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    There is great legal precedent in the court’s historical application of the Fourteenth Amendment in equality cases. A conservative court may indeed be our best friend with a literal reading of the clause.
    I believe Ted Olson and David Boies will win our argument. And nNo more will we be deprived “the equal protection of the laws.” The time is now. XIV

  36. Bostonian Queer in Dallas says

    Civil rights were never and never will be granted through any legislation or plebiscite. The only place civil rights are granted or protected is in courts. And ultimately it will be the SCOTUS that gives us equality. All else is moot and fruitless.

  37. Eduardo says

    Prop 8 lawyers botched it by not referring to equal protection in CA — something that has been done before (e.g. Perez v. Sharp which led to Loving v. Virgina). Instead they focused on the more technical matter of whether the vote on Prop 8 followed the correct procedure – hardly a moving argument.

    I don’t want to have to wait for Scalia to die before we can have our equal protection that is constitutionally guaranteed. I think these guys are talented enough to win, and the pissing and moaning is just ill advised LGBT leaders worried about somebody stealing their thunder. Boies and Olson are simply saying “read the Constitution — it’s in BLACK AND WHITE.” Article XIV Section 1: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” What part of “equal protection” are people not understanding?

    Oh, and where is our “fierce defender” of LGBT rights in all this? Obama is silent.

  38. says

    Hi,

    Enjoyed reading the above!

    A Wrong in New Hampshire…
    May 23, 2009 by Philip M. Edwards

    Quickly,

    New Hampshire’s inability to vote correctly will soon be corrected. Gay Marriage is right without a ‘Yes’ Vote. Do not give up. Damn the damned and full speed ahead…Civil Rights! Civil Justice!

    Near-Future-shift… We must abolish the Legislation of Morality. Antiquated laws of both Church and State should never stop love and the commitment of two people.

    Peace, Love and Understanding

    Thanks,

    Phil Edwards

  39. Paul R says

    They wouldn’t be doing it if they thought they were going to fail. And straight, very establishment lawyers have a better chance of winning than any liberal or LGBT organization.

    Their responses to the questions about gay family and friends and the circumstances of this case show that they aren’t scum. I see zero reason to question their commitment.

    So is this a pro bono thing, or are they being paid?

  40. Rafael says

    All I know is that nobody’s rights should be submitted to a popularity contest. I feel we stand on solid ground, we always have. Mr. Olson and Mr. Boies’ affection for our cause now provide us with adequate representation, therefore I see no reason not to pursue our rights. We should entrust our Supreme Justices to uphold the Supreme Law of the Land.

  41. Louis says

    By challenging this in federal courts they are actually creating an atmosphere where the anti-gay folks will truly see that a federal constitutional amemdment would be required to finally ban same-sex marriage. Up until now an amendment seemed overkill to many people, now it will seem prudent. They are doing this while they still have a bare majority to get an amendment through.

  42. Mike says

    Well, odds are that Scalia and Thomas are “NO” votes (read their dissents in both the Romer and Lawrence cases). Roberts and Alito are less clear. Bottom line though, there isn’t much we can do now, the horse has left the barn, and you can’t “prevent” people from bringing lawsuits. I’m not sure how helpful it was for all the gay groups to issue that PDF disclaimer after the fact. Were they just looking for cover in case we lose? I’m definitely not a Olson or Boies fan – but on the flip-side, what they put in the complaint is absolutely true – and we do have the law on our side.

  43. Jimmyboyo says

    They are doing this pro-bono

    kenedy is the one to convince but do not discount the rumors that have swirled around Judge Roberts = bathroom stall toe tapper

    Roberts might be even more easily convinced than Kenedy

  44. NObamaNObetter says

    Yes, that Ted Olson. The one who defended his client, W, with all his juridical skill and WON! Olson doesn’t take clients to lose. He has better things to do than particpate in the “vast right wing conspiracy” to eliminate gay rights. Take off your tin foil hat and step out of the status quo.

    DBACK: I’m not sure that’s a rabbit-hole you have your head buried in.

  45. jmdrwac says

    With all due respect, I trust the legal judgement of unquestionably outstanding lawyers like Boies and Olson over the strategists at “LGBT” groups, who are upset because they don’t get star billing here.

    For those upset about past affiliations of the two lawyers, you just don’t get it. If even legal conservatives acknowledge our right to marry, isn’t that the whole idea?

  46. Eduardo says

    Let’s not forget, Kennedy not only supported the Romer and Lawrence opinions…he wrote the majority opinions for them! He will probably write the majority opinion, in favor of the plaintiffs, for this one too. This is the Roberts court and he has to think about his legacy. Does he want to be on the wrong side of defending what is in black and white in the constitution? We’re more likely to get Roberts than they are to get Sotomayor, Kennedy, Ginsberg, Breyer, or Stevens. Did you listen to them on Larry King live? They exude confidence and competence. I think this nightmare will be over sooner than we thought.

  47. says

    U.S. Solicitor General Olson & Honorable Mr. Boies:

    I would personally like to thank you for taking this case to the federal level. I was wondering if there were any subversive political intentions of loosing this case, as I have unfortunately watched politics play a role in many court decisions. But after watching and listening to your press release, I have no doubts of your sincerity and honesty. This is the first time that I have truly observed leadership on marriage equality. I believe true leadership is more than being diplomatic or persuasive, it’s about educating and informing others by standing up and for what is right. Yes I am an American and I deserve to be treated equally under the United States Constitution. I will settle for no less. I agree that the two of you together are a symbol that we can move beyond politics and into a consensus of legal constitutional recognition of marriage equality for all.

    The groups fighting for marriage equality raise a really valid point. An unfavorable federal ruling can set our fight for marriage equality back for years to come. I was in agreement because the Federal District Court over Florida said a few years back that Florida has a rational basis to discriminate against homosexuals from adopting children. Gay and Lesbian Americans have no designations as a minority needing protection on the federal level. But after watching prop 8 play out, I believe there is a conflict in the California Constitution that needs to be harmonized. I have to agree, now is the time to resolve this inequity in the California Constitution. The federal courts are the only ones that can remedy this. They are the only ones that can rule something un-constitutional in a state constitution based upon the United States Constitution.

    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the word “Marriage” and would like to share my thoughts with you. I thought of an analogy to the domestic partnership in California. As Americans we brand everything. It’s that brand that gives a product an additional intrinsic value. Let’s suppose that the state issues birth certificates for children with different sex parents. Now let’s suppose the legislator creates something brand new called “domestic delivery” for all children born who have parents of the same sex. Except wait a minute, not many people understand what a “domestic delivery” is! In fact, “birth certificate” is a brand that everyone gives intrinsic value and meaning to. The courts say, wait a minute; all children can get a “birth certificate” regardless of their parents sex. Then the people vote to change “birth certificates” to children only with opposite sex parents. Now you have 18,000 kids of same sex parents with “birth certificates.” A new born with same sex parents will get a “domestic delivery” certificate. Because the state is not denying your child the right to a piece of paper that identifies their birth, they can call it “domestic delivery.” If they are exactly equal, would you want a “domestic delivery” certificate instead a “birth certificate” for your child.”

    Now you have some people say, oh, you have one of those “domestic deliveries!” Then it becomes apparent, there is an inequity in intangible benefits of having “domestic deliveries,” instead of “birth certificate,” just like domestic partnerships are not the same as a marriage certificate, the understood meanings are different. This violates the United States Constitution under Equal Protection. What about same sex parents who bring their children’s birth certificate from out of state. Is the state going to convert them to “domestic deliveries?” What If you brought Pepsi stocks with you from another state and California told you they were going to give you a generic cola stock that was just as good, in exchange for your Pepsi shares? Wouldn’t this violate the Full Faith and Credit Clause?

    I have tried to appeal to voters and legislators in my state with no success. Both of those roads led to setbacks. I believe our main course should be the judicial branch of government. The worst that could happen is that they give us all separate but equal status. But at least we would get some identification status on the federal level. In Florida we have separate and un-equal laws. Homosexuals are a class of citizens the state says can be discriminated against when it comes to Marriage, Civil Unions, and Adoption. I married my husband almost six years ago. I want all the protections, benefits, and privileges that my brothers and sisters have with their marriage certificates, today, right now!

    I thought the best option was to educate all my neighbors, friends, and acquaintances about my civil rights to marriage equality in Florida. And what did my fellow citizens of Florida do? They passed a constitutional amendment not only banning same-sex marriage, but also civil unions, and my out of state marriage. This was a setback for marriage equality that will take years to undo.

    It made me really look at myself as an American, and you know what I found, we’re historically a pre-justice people. I realize that it took great leaders to move us beyond our own prejudice to a realization of equality for most Americans.

    So my next option was the political route in search of leadership. The Governor of my state told me that he believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. And that gay men are not being discriminated against because they can marry a woman if they choose to. That may work for him, but it doesn’t work for me. Every strand of my DNA has a same-sex orientation. I was born gay and the only thing I choose is to live in is truth. Every part, of which I am, my self worth, has a manifestations of same-sex orientation. I was born an American and I was born gay, these are things no one can ever change!

    Republicans dominate all of Florida politics. They control all legislative branches of our government. Most Republicans will not even address Marriage equality as they say that the citizens of Florida have biblical moral reasons to oppose it. (Keep an eye out – Florida is getting two new license plates – one with bloody thorny Jesus and another with crucifixes) in the past wasn’t it said that interracial marriage was immoral? Didn’t we as a society come to an agreement that people have a right to apply their understanding of biblical morality to themselves but as Americans as a whole (Christians, Jews, Muslims, Non-believers) we apply the rule of law? It would be great if people came to acceptance, but that is not needed for me, I realize now that there are people who are going to hate us for existing as a family unit. So I don’t want their acceptance, only my federal constitutional rights to marriage protections. Let them hate us all they want, just give me the ability and right to make funeral arrangements for my family if need be.

    Ok, then I looked to the federal government for leadership. Democratic Congress & President Obama – “Change we can believe in!” Wait! Democratic Congress repealing DOMA, no they said it’s not a priority. That’s a set back! Constitutional scholar President Obama believes marriage is between a man and a woman. I thought in time he would have a better understanding of equality and lead by educating the public about LGBT civil rights. Instead, all references to GLBT civil equality on the whitehouse.gov web site gone! “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” not a priority! That’s a set back! No executive order stopping the firing of gays and lesbians in the military. Matthew Sheppard Hate Crimes Bill – no leadership toward the senate. Ms. Sheppard is scheduled to meet with President Obama for 10 minutes and she is given less than a minute. I thought if the Democrats stood up for us and passed legislation like the Matthew Sheppard Hate Crimes Bill or Employment Non-Discrimination Act, just maybe the federal courts would then be able to take a closer look at why the government is discrimination against us when it comes to marriage equality. But they sang to us on the left and did a ninety day dance to the right. This is another avenue with major setbacks. The train left without us!

    Where do you go when the Democrats aren’t strong enough to stand up for equality and the Republicans use their morality beliefs to discriminate?

    I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be wise to continue seeking our constitutional rights to marriage equality with the judicial branch of our government. I’ve always believed in the good a government (made up of you and me) can do in people’s lives. But I can tell the both of you briefly the government can do badly in your life by hurting you and creating hardships with new anti-discriminatory laws. Do you know what it is like being an American male, living on American soil, and being attracted to the same sex?

    The Florida government will not recognize or honor my Marriage Certificate because I’m married to someone of the same gender. I believe this is wrong. My Marriage Certificate does not say same-sex marriage on it. It is the same Marriage Certificate given to all spouses regardless of gender. So when my Husband and I went down to the DMV to have his last name changed to my last name which is our family name, we were told that they would not honor our Marriage Certificate because of a Florida statue that limits recognition to opposite sex couples. We have exactly the same certificate as our heterosexual counterparts. The only way Florida is decided to accept the out of state marriage certificates is by sorting them out by same gender names. They are creating a class of people who deserve federal protections under the equal protection clause of the United States Federal Constitution. I believe that they have to accept all out of state Marriage Certificates or none at all. Our government’s discrimination is creating financial hardships to overcome. It cost us close to $400 dollars for a name change not including the time and resources to do what heterosexual orientation persons can do in 10 minutes for $10 dollars.

    Didn’t Virginia do this to interracial couples? The Marriage Certificates were all the same for heterosexual orientation couples but the state made it illegal by sorting out the marriages by mixed races. And wasn’t this law based upon biblical morality of not mixing the races? My understanding is that the Supreme Court said in the Loving case that the government has to have a good reason why they need to discriminate against married people. So Marriage itself deserves higher protection from the government. The word “Marriage” and all of its fundamental, intrinsic, and intangible protections and benefits rise to a higher level of scrutiny and is protected by privacy in the United States Constitution. I have a fundamental right to have my Marriage recognize and Privacy protects me from the state of Florida telling me what sex I need to marry.

    There are no legal documents that we can get to give us next of kin except a Marriage Certificate or an Adoption Certificate. If my husband were to die tomorrow, I would have to pay inheritance tax on our home that we both worked so hard to buy together. My heterosexual orientation neighbors would not have to pay that tax. I would be priced out of my home, they would not.

    Our Son (biological nephew) was abused, neglected, and left to die at All Children’s Hospital before he came to us. It had been a week before my husband and I found out that he’d been there for a week by himself without anyone visiting or holding him. I have two other brothers and three sisters who are heterosexual and had no desire to care for him. We agreed immediately to foster him. The Sherriff’s office delivered a dying baby to us. He had failure to thrive and was gray all over. Skin and bones with his head misshaped. A child you’d see in picture from a third world country.

    I had a special pouch made for him. And I would put him in it and wear it all day at work. It was my belief that if I rubbed his head and feet throughout the day, it would stimulate his brain and give him a chance to make it. I sang to him and gave him all the love I could. I couldn’t have a better husband to be the father of our son. He taught me to be a better parent with his patience and love. We didn’t sleep for a month after our child arrived. We awoke every three hours for feedings. On top of this, I made it to work every day. I had state mandated weigh-ins four times a week with his pediatrician. I had lots specialist’s appointments. We offered him physical, fine motor and speech therapy six times a week. I had home inspections all the time. I’m proud to say that in one year’s time my husband and I had never missed one appointment. We literally had hundreds of appointments within a year’s time.

    The state raised the bar higher and higher for us. Every month SCC would call me at the last minute on a different day, while I was at work, and tell me they needed a home visit within the hour. I had to drop everything and go. Every new case worker spent hours on the phone going around in circles with accusations, trying to get us to give up fostering. The state of Florida did not want the outcome to be in favor of us being parents. The more our son thrived the harder the state made it for us. After a few months we noticed that the paperwork we were receiving started to change. In the beginning it listed my husband as an Uncle caregiver. Then his name started to get dropped and where it did show up they listed him as a consort. I asked if consort meant “illegal lover.” I was told that was standard for people like me. Soon after they changed his title to “non relative”.

    All the doctors raved about how far and well my little boy had come. It took about a month before he looked at me and realized I was there. Every day he started to look more and more. It was then that I made a promise to him that I would always be there for him. I decided to totally believe mentally and emotionally that I was always going to be there for him. I had to believe it believe it to the best of my ability. Children pick up on those kinds of things. They can sense body language and stress hormones. I made him feel safe and permanent which is what he needed to thrive. It takes a lot of energy to be totally present for your child while having the state telling you at the same time that it’s temporary.

    The state of Florida discriminated against me when they told me, after caring for my biological nephew for eight months, that there was only one disqualifying factor stopping me from adopting him. I was told that since I was open about being Married to my husband, my child was going to be removed from me in 4 months and put up for adoption because of a Florida statue that says homosexuals are not allowed to adopt children in Florida and after 12 months they need to adopt him out. They meant to heterosexuals individuals and couples only.

    Here was a governmental employee telling me stone cold with no empathy that the state was planning on taking him back. I was surprised because I thought we’d go on fostering him until the law changed to include us as legal parents. He was diagnosed with mental retardation. Would they rather him in an institution? I gave him part of my soul to breathe life into him. My heart was emotional woven into his. I realized this wasn’t about my ego! This is about my baby’s right to have a loving home with parents who love him and provide for him. What about his relationships with his Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents? I felt like someone ripped my stomach out.

    Everyone I know says that my child is in the best place he could be with two parents who love him. Except for the conservatives in Tallahassee who have decided that it’s morally best for children to be with a male and female. What they don’t tell you is that there are over 1,000 special needs kids waiting to be adopted by heterosexuals. The state is hurting these children by not allowing them to have permanent homes with a same sex parent(s) that could give them love because they believe that their sexual orientation might make them gay. I’m raising my child to be whom his given potential is meant to be. I’m teaching him never to define himself by others. Other kids have so many other things to tease him about besides have same sex parents. This should be the last thing law makers should worry about.

    I would have fought and do anything for my baby boy. We proved ourselves over and over again that we are exceptional parents with a lot of love. But I had no rights to him, as he was a ward of the state. I lived in fear of my government persecuting me and taking him sooner if I sought legal remedy. The government had beaten me down. If I were heterosexual this would have never happened. Unless you’re a parent who loves your child, you’d never know how painful it is to know that your child will lose the only parents he’d known because they love each other.

    We had the Guardian ad Litem attorney fight for our son’s best interest. They finally got the state to agree to exempt our son out of the adoption pool because of his special needs. The recorded addendum that the GAL office filed states that it was in our child’s best interest to stay with us as his caregiver but pursuant to the law I was not able to adopt him. They had promised that we both would become permanent guardians. However, when I got a certified copy of the order, only I was listed. He is still a ward of the state. If something happens to me, my husband has no rights to our son. The state will take him away and them my husband will have to try to fight for him, but there is no relative connection, and since we can’t marry we are not recognized as a family, and since we can’t adopt, they are strangers living under the same roof according to the law. We provide for him, we change his diapers, we feed him, educate, and parent him, and love him as our own. But I’m considered just guardian and my husband is considered a non relative friend.

    How can it be in America that we can go down to the County and get a dog certificate that shows a relationship between our dogs and our family? But I can’t have a relationship recognized by my government that shows a family relationship exists between me and my husband or my husband and our son?

    It’s been one year now and our son is thriving and doing great. I took a certified copy of the court order giving me full rights as a parent to our local bank of our country. I wanted to open an account for my son, when I was told that my documents had to be faxed over to their legal department because they couldn’t understand why it listed me and my husband as guardian caregivers on the first page but then on the following pages only listed me. I explained to them that the first page says that my husband was in attendance but the actual guardianship went to me. After one hour, they legal department said that I did not have the right to open an account for my son because it only says I have all the rights and privileges of a parent, but that was too broad. They said it should say that I could make financial decisions. Mind you I have a relationship with this bank. They earn hundreds of dollars a month for my merchant services account not to mention payroll service fees. I wasn’t a new customer. I explained that this was the same document that Florida gives to all guardians. There was nothing more I could bring. They said there was nothing more they could do for me. I walked out feeling like a second class citizen. I called an attorney, and after waiting two weeks to hear back from her, she said the document was all that I needed to open an account.

    No gay or lesbian American should have to go through the pain the state of Florida put me through. I never thought that my American government would cause pain and hardship for its citizens. As a gay man I have experienced hate from my fellow citizens who make up our government. I hope that you gentlemen can educate and pursue one Justice to open up their heart and mind to make the correct ruling and stop the hate and pain.

    At this point I believe only the judicial branch of government can remedy the inequities and suffering that the legislators fail to address for Gay and Lesbian Americans. All’s that were asking for is to be recognized as a family for the protections marriage offers. Love is what bonds us as a family. A Marriage Certificate is what “brands” us as a family to the protect us from and in the public. Without the protections of marriage we are considered strangers cohabitating in our own home with no rights to survivorship. I’m asking you both, fight for us. Fight for my families rights for dignity and respect.

    I watched a movie a long time ago with Robin Williams who comes to NYC as a Russian immigrant. There was some guy following him, so Robin Williams says, “K.G.B.,” the guys says, “No, G.A.Y.”. I watched the movie back then feeling proud of being an American and being Gay. I felt blessed to be born and raised in a country where you can have equality and liberty. Just think of how many anti-gay laws were created in Florida and across America since that movie was made. Do you remember when K.G.B. meant government intrusion (wire tapping) and torture?

  48. mike says

    Being a long-time sentinel on all things right-wing, I must say that to have someone like Theodore Olsen on our side and willing to argue marriage and civil equality in the federal courts is incredible! I had to do a double-take when I saw this news yesterday. If anyone can help make the case for us, Olsen can. My first reaction was skepticism, but since then I believe Olsen to be sincere and committed. His support for marriage equality certainly has some of the wing-nuts in a blather, I’ll tell you!

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