Brown on Prop 8 and Schwarzenegger on the Budget

Here is some California news:

California Attorney General Jerry Brown Urges Overturning Prop 8

California's Attorney General Jerry Brown has filed a brief to the California Supreme Court which is reviewing the anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 arguing that  the measure is constitutionally indefensible and should be overturned. Brown wrote in the brief that "Proposition 8 must be invalidated because the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights without compelling justification." In essence, the Attorney General is arguing that minority rights should not be subject to the whims of the majority. More from the New York Times. Jerry Brown is expected to run for Governor in 2010.

Governor Schwarzenegger Orders Unpaid Furloughs for All California State Employees

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an executive order to all California state employees mandating two unpaid days of leave per month beginning in February 2009 and lasting through June 2010. The executive order is the latest salvo in California's budget battle. The state faces a $41.8 billion dollar deficit.

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The Milk/Prop 8 Nexus

Milk is easily the best live action film I've seen this year, not only for its exceptional quality but also for its political and social relevance. The filmmakers had no way of knowing how the Prop 8 campaign would play out but the parallels between the fight to defeat Prop 8 in 2008 and Harvey Milk's 1977 struggle to defeat Prop 6 as dramatized in the film are truly eerie. So, it's no accident that, post-election, Milk would play a pivotal role in the pushback against the passage of Prop 8.

A few weeks ago I attended a free screening of Milk hosted by the Courage Campaign (for whom I have worked,) which offered local activists an opportunity to gather, see Milk and speak with each other about both the film and the next steps in the marriage equality movement. Little did I know it would be the first of many such screenings, which Courage Campaign members throughout the state have organized for tomorrow.

From a Courage Campaign e-mail:

On Saturday all throughout California, will "you, and you, and you" attend a Courage Campaign screening of "MILK" and then participate in a "Light Up the Night" candlelight vigil, organized by our friends at Join the Impact?

We're calling this special event "MILK plus LOVE" and we want you -- and your friends, family and neighbors -- to be there. Courage Campaign members just like you are organizing these screenings on Saturday at 40 movie theaters in communities across California. All you need to do is RSVP now so they know how many people are coming (and then buy your movie tickets at the theater before the event)

In California? Sign up to attend a screening HERE.

If you saw Milk then you recall the dramatic scene in which Harvey Milk debates Proposition 6 in front of a hostile audience. Against the advice of consultants who urged him to cower and not rock the boat, Milk knew he had to not only get his message out but he had to do it in the belly of the beast, in Orange County, CA, which today is home to Rick Warren's Saddleback Church.

Harvey Milk's courage back then has inspired Courage Campaign to challenge Barack Obama's homophobic invocation speaker Rick Warren to a debate about Proposition 8 with progressive minister, Reverend Eric Lee.

From Courage's e-mail:

We can not ignore Rick Warren's fervent support for Proposition 8 or his mobilization of thousands of evangelical Christians to enshrine discrimination into our state constitution.

Harvey Milk did not ignore John Briggs in 1978, when Briggs sought to pass Proposition 6 -- the infamous "Briggs Initiative" that attempted to ban gay and lesbian teachers, and anyone who supported them, from our California's public schools. Milk challenged Briggs to debates across the state.

Urge Rick Warren to join Rev. Lee for a Prop 8 debate HERE.

Finally, last Friday -- the opening day of Milk in many parts of the country -- I attended a people-powered rally organized by a student in Claremont, CA in association with Join The Impact to protest the passage of Proposition 8, which culminated in a candlelight march to the theatre where Milk had just opened. Several speakers spoke to the crowd of more than 200 people who gathered in a small park in Claremont, including Mother Karen Macqueen who spoke about having briefly met Harvey Milk in San Francisco during their fight against Proposition 6 and the lessons we can learn from him today.

Harvey had some principles we have to remember. One of them is that we need organizers and we need activists, we don't need politicians and there is deep truth in that. We need a people's movement, a law-abiding, peaceful people's movement who lets other people know how important marriage equality is.

That's exactly what Courage Campaign is building with their Pledge to Repeal Prop 8. If you haven't signed it, join over 310,000 people who already have HERE.

And if you haven't seen Milk, I highly recommend doing so. Not only is it incredibly entertaining but it contains lessons moving forward for how to take on the Rick Warrens of the world and -- this time -- win.

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Prop 8 Q&A with Mormon Pollster Gary Lawrence

Four questions.  

Four answers.

Q&A #1 (4:18 minutes):

A) Laughable?  What's "laughable" is Gary's "6,000 years" assertion re some global six-millennia-strong definition of marriage.

B) Consequences?  Gary:  maybe some of us are thinking about the consequences for first- and second-graders with LGBT parents, rather than simply ignoring them.

C) Frame it however you'd like, Gary, but if I allow my kids to attend the wedding of a teacher - who they adore - what business is that of yours?  Your framing of what you call "a mistake" strikes me as yet another example of folks like you making it your business to infringe on the rights of parents like me.

Roll tape #1:

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Why I'm (still) mad at the Mormon church: a timeline

With apologies to Rick Jacobs:  my title's adapted from his totally worthy Why we're mad at the Mormon church.

I just finished reading this from the LDS "Newsroom" ...

Which reminded me that I'd previously written Maurine Proctor (editor of an influential Mormon mag) back in August about some of the stuff that Meridian (her mag) was putting out there in support of Prop 8 ... and that she'd replied with an article by Roger Severino, legal counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

The same Becket (of recent No Mob Veto fame) and Ballard (of Mormon Apostolic fame) who were BFF long before they recently started whining about our post-election actions.

Which led me to mutter to myself:  enough with the Kabuki, Ballard.

As if Stop The Mormons hadn't long since put together the definitive timeline re your shenanigans.

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Can local city councils help affirm marriage equality?

Though it's largely symbolic, the town of Carrboro, NC just voted to affirm civil marriage for same-sex couples, by a vote of 5-0.  The reason?  Well, according to town alderwomen Jackie Grist, they did so because they felt they needed to stand up for the rights of LGBT citizens in the wake of Proposition 8.

There's more on this over at  But could this be a new strategy for marriage equality activists?  A strategy that engages activists in cities across the country to pass resolutions affirming civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples?

The Mayor of Carrboro, Mark Chilton, has a great quote on this.  "It was just a couple of college towns when we started in on the civil rights movement in the late `50s and early `60s, and it was just a couple of college towns when we started the process of ending the war in Vietnam." Can small towns be the new epicenter in the debate over gay marriage?

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