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CAG Jerry Brown asks California Supreme Court to Void Prop. 8

Edmund "Jerry" Brown

Edmund "Jerry" Brown

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

State Attorney General Jerry Brown, in a surprise turnabout, asked the California Supreme Court on Friday to overturn Proposition 8, saying the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage violates basic rights guaranteed in the state Constitution.

Brown, who is required to defend state laws unless he cannot find reasonable legal grounds to do so, said after Prop. 8 passed Nov. 4 that he would support the initiative before the state’s high court.

But in a lengthy filing late Friday, he argued that the constitutional amendment was “inconsistent with the guarantees of individual liberty” in California’s governing charter.

“Proposition 8 must be invalidated because the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights without compelling justification,” Brown said.

The authors of the state Constitution, he said, did not intend “to put a group’s right to enjoy liberty to a popular vote.”

I haven’t read his brief but I agree with his logic.  Minority rights should not be subject to the whims of the majority.  The state Constitution shouldn’t be easy to amend, especially when you consider that it requires a 2/3 vote to raise taxes here.  Taking away our civil rights should require at least as much.

Jerry Brown, aka “Governor Moonbeam,” was the last liberal governor of California.  He also served as the California Secretary of State and the Mayor of Oakland.  He and his father, Edmund “Pat” Brown, bookended Ronald Reagan’s tenure as governor.  His sister Kathleen Brown was formerly the state treasurer and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1994 against incumbent Pete Wilson.

Sometimes dynasties aren’t such a bad thing.

Saturday: Take an old cold tater and wait

Protesting the H8 in CA

Protesting the H8 in CA

It’s funny how the people who manage to make their way to the top seem to think it is O. K. to do it by stepping on the heads of the people who helped them get there.  The passage of Proposition 8 in California, that defines marriage as between only a man and a woman, is the unpredictable fallout of the Obama victory.  Christian conserverative African Americans and Latinos turned out to establish a new pecking order.  Some of these people think that homosexuality is a behavioral choice even though there is a growing body of scientific evidence that it is not.  And if it is not, then how does one reconcile a loving god with the mandate to be forever celibate, forever consigned to the role of child in the family, forever unable to have a loving partner and family?

For too long, religion has concentrated on proscriptions about sex, putting love, commitment and protection of families secondary.  This is what Proposition 8 puts into law.  It says, “We aren’t too concerned what you do after you are married, just as long as you have slot A and piece B.  As long as your anatomical features are correct, you and your family are entitled to the full protection of the law.  Gay couples and their children are not entitled to the full protection of the law because they might do something icky with their privates.  Of course, heterosexual couples might do something icky with theirs as well but it’s legal because they’re married and therefore, none of our business.”

This is how the Obama presidency is starting.  One group of people get their long awaited triumph and then turn around and screw another demographic.  To those of us who have followed the campaign for months, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Obama made appearances with anti-gay people and made a point of reaching out to the evangelical community.  What he did was surreptitiously court the bigots in the religious community over issues of homosexuality and abortion.  He gave these groups tacit approval of their prejudices.  What makes his behavior different than that of a Republican like George Bush?  He got away with it because journalists completely failed us.  (Listen to the post-election Fresh Air interview with Bill Moyers if you can stomach it.  The blinders on these people need to come off and soon.)

This is not an auspicious start to the era of Hope and Change! There are persistent rumors that Larry Summers may be nominated as Secretary of the Treasury as well.  This is the former president of Harvard that said that women are innately incapable of competing with men in math and science.*  Science had some recent articles saying Larry is full of it. (pending citations)  So, is the media going to pick up on this or are they going to continue to grind women to political pulp? We shall see.  But if he appoints Summers, there’s a good chance that gay people won’t be the only ones protesting.

In other news:

  • Day care centers are seeing their clientele dwindle as parents cut costs.
  • Sarah Palin is engaged in an epic battle with the Bushies. It looks like the Bushies are still trying to blame their catastrophic failure as a party on her.  We shouldn’t let them get away with it.  If there is any hope for reforming the Republican party, it rests in people like Palin.
  • Anglachel covers Hillary’s newest initiatives.  It looks like Hillary is going to be a burr in Obama’s saddle for a long time in the Senate.  Take that Nancy! As Anglachel says:

I love her line: “We are in a recession and we must act decisively and wisely to change course, hasten a recovery, and reform the broken economic policies that will be the sad and disastrous legacy of the Bush Administration.” More of this, please. More nicely, sweetly partisan knife twisting to ensure that Bush is never spoken of without BartCop’s tag line – Worst President Ever.

*I just saw a reference to Larry Summers being a managing director of D. E. Shaw’s group.  This is an unusual group founded by David Shaw, a biophysicist, who made a killing in the stock market.  I’m not clear on how he did it but in the studies of proteins, there is a kind of sensitivity analysis that can be performed to observe what happens to a system when a small part of it is perturbed.  A satellite group of his is involved in a program I use at work called Desmond, which calculates protein molecular dynamics.  It kind of gives you a sense of what the hell their doing on Wall Street with all of the simulations.  The thing is, the simulations are only as good as the understanding of the system they are supposed to model.  Very interesting and very disturbing that Summers is tied to this group.  It must drive the female computational modelers in Shaw’s group up a frickin’ wall.