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Archive for November 5, 2008

CA Prop 8 to Face Court Challenge

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Andy Writes on his Blog

Opponents of Proposition 8 in California have refused to concede the election, citing the approximately 4 million absentee ballots that have yet to be counted. That’s probably a long shot, but apparently we have another ace up our sleeve.

Originally I believed there would be no recourse in the courts; after all, Proposition 8 amends the state constitution, which the state supreme court must uphold and enforce. However, an emergency appeal was filed today by Lambda Legal, the ACLU and the National Center for Lesbian Rights urging the invalidation of Proposition 8.

Here’s the argument: in May, the court cited numerous precedents and reiterated that marriage is a fundamental right. Proposition 8 improperly eliminates access to a fundamental right by targeting a specific group. To put that another way, it’s as if California voters had passed an amendment to deny the right of free speech only to women, or the right to vote to non-whites. According to the brief filed today, “any measure that would change the underlying principles of the constitution must first be approved by the legislature before being submitted to the voters. That didn’t happen with Proposition 8, and that’s why it’s invalid.”

There’s even a precedent for this. In 1990, the state supreme court reversed an initiative that “improperly attempted to strip California’s courts of their role as independent interpreters of the state’s constitution. “

The state legislature voted twice to legalize same-sex marriage in the state, and the supreme court ruled unanimously back in May. Proposition 8 may yet fall.

The bigots will scream bloody judicial activism, but we have to win this. Proposition 8 is a manifest injustice. Under the banner of righteousness, these people campaigned on fear and deception to villainize and victimize thousands of their fellow citizens. Prop 8 protects nothing — least of all children or the free expression of religion — and serves only to deny thousands of Americans their fundamental rights for the sake of outright prejudice.

In yet more reassuring news, the California Attorney General issued a statement today that the 18,000 same-sex marriages that have already taken place will continue to be honored.

This is not over!


Obama victory sparks cheers around the globe

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From the Associated Press:

PARIS – Barack Obama‘s election as America’s first black president unleashed a renewed love for the United States after years of dwindling goodwill, and many said Wednesday that U.S. voters had blazed a trail that minorities elsewhere could follow.

People across Africa stayed up all night or woke before dawn to watch U.S. history being made, while the president of Kenya — where Obama’s father was born — declared a public holiday.

In Indonesia, where Obama lived as child, hundreds of students at his former elementary school erupted in cheers when he was declared winner and poured into the courtyard where they hugged each other, danced in the rain and chanted “Obama! Obama!”

“Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place,” South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, said in a letter of congratulations to Obama.

Many expressed amazement and satisfaction that the United States could overcome centuries of racial strife and elect an African-American as president.

“This is the fall of the Berlin Wall times ten,” Rama Yade, France‘s black junior minister for human rights, told French radio. “America is rebecoming a New World.

“On this morning, we all want to be American so we can take a bite of this dream unfolding before our eyes,” she said.

In Britain, The Sun newspaper borrowed from Neil Armstrong‘s 1969 moon landing in describing Obama’s election as “one giant leap for mankind.”

Yet celebrations were often tempered by sobering concerns that Obama faces global challenges as momentous as the hopes his campaign inspired — wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the nuclear ambitions of Iran, the elusive hunt for peace in the Middle East and a global economy in turmoil.

The huge weight of responsibilities on Obama’s shoulders was also a concern for some. French former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said Obama’s biggest challenge would be managing a punishing agenda of various crises in the United States and the world. “He will need to fight on every front,” he said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he hoped the incoming administration will take steps to improve badly damaged U.S. ties with Russia. Tensions have been driven to a post-Cold War high by Moscow’s war with U.S. ally Georgia.

“I stress that we have no problem with the American people, no inborn anti-Americanism. And we hope that our partners, the U.S. administration, will make a choice in favor of full-fledged relations with Russia,” Medvedev said.

Europe, where Obama is overwhelmingly popular, is one region that looked eagerly to an Obama administration for a revival in warm relations after the Bush government’s chilly rift with the continent over the Iraq war.

“At a time when we have to confront immense challenges together, your election raises great hopes in France, in Europe and in the rest of the world,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a congratulations letter to Obama.

Poland’s Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski spoke of “a new America with a new credit of trust in the world.”

Skepticism, however, was high in the Muslim world. The Bush administration alienated those in the Middle East by mistreating prisoners at its detention center for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and inmates at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison — human rights violations also condemned worldwide.

Some Iraqis, who have suffered through five years of a war ignited by the United States and its allies, said they would believe positive change when they saw it.

“Obama’s victory will do nothing for the Iraqi issue nor for the Palestinian issue,” said Muneer Jamal, a Baghdad resident. “I think all the promises Obama made during the campaign will remain mere promises.”

In Pakistan, a country vital to the U.S.-led war on the al-Qaida terrorist network and neighbor to Afghanistan, many hoped Obama would bring some respite from rising militant violence that many blame on Bush.

Still, Mohammed Arshad, a 28-year-old schoolteacher in the capital, Islamabad, doubted Obama’s ability to change U.S. foreign policy dramatically.

“It is true that Bush gave America a very bad name. He has become a symbol of hate. But I don’t think the change of face will suddenly make any big difference,” he said.

Obama’s victory was greeted with cheers across Latin America, a region that has shifted sharply to the left during the Bush years. From Mexico to Chile, leaders expressed hope for warmer relations based on mutual respect — a quality many felt has been missing from U.S. foreign policy.

Venezuela and Bolivia, which booted out the U.S. ambassadors after accusing the Bush administration of meddling in their internal politics, said they were ready to reestablish diplomatic relations, and Brazil’s president was among several leaders urging Obama to be more flexible toward Cuba.

On the streets of Rio de Janeiro, people expressed a mixture of joy, disbelief, and hope for the future.

“It’s the beginning of a different era,” police officer Emmanuel Miranda said. “The United States is a country to dream about, and for us black Brazilians, it is even easier to do so now.”

Many around the world found Obama’s international roots — his father was Kenyan, and he lived four years in Indonesia as a child — compelling and attractive.

“What an inspiration. He is the first truly global U.S. president the world has ever had,” said Pracha Kanjananont, a 29-year-old Thai sitting at a Starbuck’s in Bangkok. “He had an Asian childhood, African parentage and has a Middle Eastern name. He is a truly global president.”


I Present – President Elect Barack Obama

President-Elect Barack Obama in Chicago


Prop 8 *Update*

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The Race is too close to call, see below…

The Yes Side 5,163,908 with 52% of the vote
The No Side 4,760,336 with 48% of the vote

Roughly 400,000 votes separate yes from no on Prop 8 – out of 10 million votes tallied.

Based on turnout estimates reported yesterday, we expect that there are more than 3 million and possibly as many as 4 million absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted.

Given that fundamental rights are at stake, we must wait to hear from the Secretary of State tomorrow how many votes are yet to be counted as well as where they are from.

It is clearly a very close election and we monitored the results all evening and this morning.

As of this point, the election is too close to call.

Because Prop 8 involves the sensitive matter of individual rights, we believe it is important to wait until we receive further information about the outcome.

Geoff Kors
Executive Committee
NO on Prop 8

Kate Kendell
Executive Committee
NO on Prop 8


Overjoyed…

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I can’t begin to try to articulate what I am feeling tonight. I rushed home from the meeting tonight and sat, glued to the television until 2:30 in the morning here watching election results. My VCR pulled double duty tonight as I taped the entire nights progress for posterity. Over 125,000 people gathered in Grant Park in Chicago to hear Barack Obama’s acceptance speech.

I was moved to tears. America surprised me. The people of this great nation have truly risen above the past and elected the right man, for the right job at the right moment. Having grown up in the United States I have voted in several elections in my years. I voted by absentee ballot from here last week.

But to see the joy, the tears and the amazement of so many men and women was truly moving. Watching Jesse Jackson in Time Square in tears, seeing history being made as America elected its first African American to the highest office of the land. I am proud of America tonight. You did the right thing for the right reason.

Change has come to America he said. Let us Pray for the next few weeks as the transition begins at the White House. Siyonara Sarah… Buh Bye McCain. Hello Mr. President Elect…

The world is partying tonight from countries around the world, and Canada was right up there celebrating this monumental win.

Good night from Montreal

More tomorrow after I have had time to digest this election result further.


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