LGBT History Month: Prop 8 Heroes Talk Coming Out & Wedding Day Memories

This LGBT History Month, marriage equality champions Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court Case that struck down Prop. 8 in California, sat down with newlyweds Niki and Carole Nakayama, owners of n/naka and known for Chef’s Table, to discuss their relationship and how Paul and Jeff’s story paved the way for marriage equality nationwide.

The wide-ranging conversation includes the quartet’s thoughts on coming out, what it feels like to get married, and sharing wedding news with friends, family, and co-workers.

“Getting married, it’s personal but as a gay couple it’s also universal because it gives us the language to go out into the world and affirm who we are in such a real way,” says Katami. “Cause you have to come out every day if you’re gay.”

“For me, I feel that it defined a certain level of authenticity that we were trying to do through food but now here it was in a whole other realm,” shared Ilda-Nakayama.

You can watch the full video below.

Barefoot Wine & Bubbly partnered with OUT on this new series of video shorts, entitled “One Stride, Many Journeys,” in celebration of National Coming Out Day (October 11).

Barefoot has been an ally to the LGBTQ community for the past 27 years and works with more 200 LGBTQ organizations worldwide.

Supreme Court Says California Anti-Gay Groups Can’t Hide Donor Names

A California group, which fought to deny same-sex marriage in their state, has been rebuffed by the Supreme Court in their attempt to hide the names of donors to the anti-gay Prop 8 campaign of 2008.

The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling against ProtectMarriage.com, the National Organization for Marriage and other supporters of a 2008 ballot initiative that outlawed same-sex marriages in California until the ban was overturned five years later.

The groups sought to conceal their past and future campaign finance records because they feared harassment of donors. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against them in part because the names have been publicly available for five years.

State law requires political committees to identify those who contribute more than $100 during or after a campaign, along with the donor’s address, occupation and employer.

Prop 8 defense lawyer “evolves” regarding same-sex marriage

Eventually, when it touches your life, you evolve.

Protect Marriage attorney Charles Cooper, who vigorously argued against the overturn of Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court last year, says his opinion on gay marriage is “evolving” now that his own daughter is planning to marry a woman.

The revelation is an unexpected footnote in the years-long debate over Proposition 8, the California measure struck down by the Supreme Court last year. It is also offers a glimpse, through the eyes of one family, of the country’s rapidly shifting opinions of gay marriage, with most public polls now showing majorities in favour of allowing the unions. Cooper learned that his stepdaughter Ashley was gay as the Proposition 8 case wound its way through appellate court, according to a forthcoming book about the lengthy legal battle.

And with the Supreme Court ruling now behind him, Cooper cast his personal opinion on gay marriage as an evolving process. “My views evolve on issues of this kind the same way as other people’s do, and how I view this down the road may not be the way I view it now, or how I viewed it ten years ago,” Cooper said in journalist Jo Becker’s book “Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality.” Cooper’s words are reminiscent of the language President Barack Obama used throughout his first term to describe his “evolving” views on gay marriage. In 2012, Obama announced publicly that he did, in fact, support the rights of same-sex couples to marry.

Cooper’s daughter will marry in Massachusetts in June. He says, “My daughter Ashley’s path in life has led her to happiness with a lovely young woman named Casey, and our family and Casey’s family are looking forward to celebrating their marriage in just a few weeks.”

HRC president Chad Griffin reacts: “I spent the better part of five years sitting across courtroom aisles from Mr. Cooper, disagreeing with just about every word that came out of his mouth, but I have profound respect for his decision to love and celebrate his daughter and her fiancée because his story reflects the experience of so many of the 90 percent of Americans who personally know someone who is LGBT.”

Proposition 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier react: “We were so moved to hear of the Cooper family’s constant love and support of their own daughter, even as the Perry case was in full swing and Mr. Cooper was spending his days planning Prop 8’s defense. Some may find this contrast between public and private jarring, but in our opinion, loving an LGBT child unequivocally is the single most important thing any parent can do. We are overjoyed for Ashley and her fiancée, and we wish them the very best.”

(via JoeMyGod)

Mozilla issues diversity statement in light of new CEO’s past Prop 8 support

Yesterday, news broke that newly-appointed Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich had been a donor to California’s anti-gay Prop 8 campaign.

In response, developers Hampton Catlin and his husband Michael announced their decision to boycott the Mozilla community entirely.

Now, Mozilla, maker of the popular Firefox web browser and the Thunderbird email client, has issued a statement in regard to the company’s approach to diversity:

Mozilla has always been deeply committed to honoring diversity in sexual orientation and beliefs within our staff and community, across all the project’s activities.

One concrete example of this is in our health benefit policies. Mozilla provides the same level of benefits and advantages to domestic partners as we do to married couples across the United States, even in states where it is not mandated.

For those who choose life insurance, voluntary spouse coverage extends to domestic partners, including same-sex couples.

With thousands of people spanning many countries and cultures, diversity is core to who we are, and we’re united in our mission to keep the Web open and accessible for everyone.

(via Towleroad)

Brian Brown stokes out on the full-on death of Prop 8

“The way that activist judges have dealt with Proposition 8 is a travesty
of justice and undermines the rule of law and the democratic process
itself. The legitimate votes of 7 million Californians,
and their fair-minded, reasonable position that marriage should be
defined as the union of one man and one woman, have been trampled
underfoot by derelict politicians and activist judges.

“However, this is
not the end of the debate. No judge or politician can redefine what God
has created. NOM and our allies will work to make sure the people of
California, and other states where marriage has been redefined have a
voice speaking for true marriage.

“So-called same-sex ‘marriage’ is a
political creation; it doesn’t exist in reality. Eventually it will
fall, and we will restore natural marriage in California.” – Hate group leader Brian Brown, in his tenth case of the super-sadz in the last twelve months.

Brian – I am happy to tell you that same-sex marriage is real.  It is here.  Get used to it.

The good guys won.

This is happy dance time.

This is about people being treated equally by the law.  Period.

God bless America.

Forward.

And Prop 8 is finally officially dead, dead, dead

The LA Times reports on the final, unsuccessful attempt by the haters to keep gays and lesbians from marrying in California:

The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to revive Proposition 8, ending the last remaining legal challenge to same-sex marriage in the state.

Meeting in closed session, the state high court rejected arguments by ProtectMarriage, Proposition 8’s sponsors, that only an appellate court could overturn a statewide law.

A federal judge in San Francisco declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional in 2010, and state officials refused to appeal. ProtectMarriage did appeal, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that initiative sponsors have no right to defend their measures in federal court. The decision left in place the ruling by retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker.

In its challenge before the state’s highest court, ProtectMarriage argued that a single judge lacked the authority to overturn a state constitutional amendment. The group also contended that Walker’s injunction applied to two counties at most and that state officials had overstepped their authority by ordering county clerks throughout California to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

State officials countered that the challenge was a veiled attempt to persuade a state court to interfere with a federal judge’s order in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

San Diego County Clerk withdraws challenge to Prop 8 repeal

San Diego County Clerk Ernest Dronenburg on Friday withdrew his petition asking the California Supreme Court to halt same-sex marriages and consider whether the Supreme Court’s Prop 8 ruling applies only to the plaintiffs involved in the case.

From the Union Tribune:

In a news release sent out Friday afternoon, Dronenburg said he canceled the petition because it covered the same ground as another petition filed earlier to the court.

The first petition was filed July 12 by Dennis Hollingsworth and others. Hollingsworth, a former state senator, has worked with ProtectMarriage.com in support of Proposition 8, which amended the state Constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Dronenburg said he was withdrawing his petition, which he filed July 19, to speed up the legal process that he hopes will clarify the current legal standing of Prop. 8.

Dronenburg has said he wanted county clerks to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples because it would be “cruel” if such people tied the knot and then later learned that their marriages were invalid. However, it would seem strange that a man so concerned for the “well-being” of gays and lesbians would hire attorney Charles LiMandri, a vocal supporter of Prop. 8 and head of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund in Rancho Santa Fe.

Coincidence? I think not.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera responds to attempt to reinstate Prop 8

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera

City Attorney for San Francisco Dennis Herrera responds to Protect Marriage’s sad, last ditch effort to keep loving couples from marrying in the state of California:

“This motion is a desperate obstruction tactic used in the vain hope of pursuing an unconstitutional agenda.

“The opponents of the freedom to marry have chosen to ignore the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, and the well-settled California marriage case of Lockyer v. San Francisco, which they themselves celebrated at the time. Their motion has essentially no chance to succeed.

“The most basic concepts of American law tell us that a state court cannot and will not overrule the federal judiciary.

“The citizens of California are left wondering when these people will realize that, having lost the moral struggle years and years ago, they have now lost the legal struggle as well.

“Marriage equality is now the law in the State of California, and will remain so from this point onward.Together we will soon see the day when it is the law all across America.”

California: Protect Marriage files petition for continued enforcement of Prop 8

The haters at Protect Marriage have filed a petition to continue enforcement of Prop 8 in California:

Moments ago, we filed a new petition in the California Supreme Court against all of California’s 58 county clerks, and state officials, seeking to restore the enforcement of Proposition 8, the state’s constitutional amendment limiting marriage to a man and a woman. The undeniable fact is, the man-woman definition of marriage, as passed by a majority the voters, is still a valid part of our state constitution.

Yet county clerks statewide are lawlessly defying that law by issuing gender-neutral marriage licenses. We are asking California’s Supreme Court to restore the rule of law and the public’s confidence in the integrity of the initiative process.

The action we filed today contends that at least 56 of the 58 county clerks must continue to follow Proposition 8 because they were not parties to the recent federal lawsuit against Prop 8, and that the state’s governor and attorney general have no legal authority to order local county clerks to disregard the state constitution.

Our petition also reminds the justices that our opponents, the attorneys for the plaintiffs who challenged Prop 8, have repeatedly admitted that the 56 county clerks not involved in their case “are not directly bound by the injunction” issued by a single San Francisco judge against Prop 8. In fact, “super-lawyer” David Boies told the courts that “the scope of the injunction is quite limited”, and at least the 56 county clerks would remain free to “refuse a marriage license to a same-sex couple…without violating the injunction.”

This will result in nothing. The kids at Protect Marriage are just out to cause further misery at this point.

You can read the whole petition from Protect Marriage by clicking here.