Kicking A Lion

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Posts Tagged ‘ban

Moscow Mayor Announces Ban on Gay Pride Parades Will Continue, Says Events Contribute to Spread of HIV

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov on Thursday announced that the city will continue to ban gay pride parades, saying that the events could contribute to the spread of HIV, RIA Novosti reports. Luzhkov said the city has “banned and will continue to forbid this propaganda by sexual minorities, as they could turn out to be one of the factors in the spread of HIV infections.” He added that “[c]ertain homegrown democrats believe that sexual minorities can be a primary indicator and symbol of democracy, but we will forbid the dissemination of these opinions in the future as well.” Luzhkov, who has been mayor of Moscow since 1992, said although he is aware that criticism for the decision will be directed at authorities, “each particular society has its own views.” RIA Novosti reports that Luzhkov in the past has called gay pride parades “Satanic” and said that they will never be allowed in the city (RIA Novosti, 12/4).

Luzhkov’s comments have drawn criticism from Russian gay rights advocates, such as Nikolai Alexeyev, who said the mayor’s comments are “contradictory” and that countries can fight HIV/AIDS more effectively if they have prominent communities of men who have sex with men, the AP/Boston Herald reports (AP/Boston Herald, 12/4). Reuters reports that homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but “tolerance is not widespread” (Kilner, Reuters, 12/4). In addition to his comments on gay pride parades, Luzhkov also said that condoms are an unreliable HIV prevention measure. He said, “Certain manufacturers state that condoms are reliable protection against AIDS, but modern science has proven this is untrue” (RIA Novosti, 12/4).

Written by kickingalion

December 8, 2008 at 4:30 pm

Gay-marriage ban gives heterosexuals special privileges

After 52 years as a native Californian, I recently moved. I loved California, its scenery and its quirkiness. Being 52, though, I knew that the majority of voters in California had voted against equal rights for blacks decades ago because that’s what the scared majority wanted.

Still, I was proud of California because it was on the forefront in being open to ideas, innovations, a diversity of people, and was freer than most states. In grade school we ranked close to the top in education. We catapulted the economic boom of the U.S. after WWII with our aerospace/defense industries, agriculture and superb universities. We tended to rely on science and facts to guide our policy making and less on religious fears, although we welcomed diverse religious freedom and freedom from religion.

I partook of many volunteer activities starting as a child, from planting seeds on a bikeway, raising funds for public television, walking/running to help alleviate poverty and diseases, volunteering for a suicide prevention hotline, to being an active Boy Scout.

While trying to be the “ideal” kid, there was a dark secret I guarded. I realized around fifth grade that I was gay. Even though I did not choose this any more than anyone chooses to be straight, I hid my secret well.

Against this backdrop were religious extremists who, while they meant well in their own minds, were literally killing me with their proselytizing, saying that people like me would burn in hell and were inferior. I felt shame to such a degree that later I almost committed suicide by jumping off a dormitory in Davis.

Others kept saying, “If only homosexuals would settle down and not be promiscuous, and be more like us, we would give them respect and equal rights.”

Later fundamentalists would say, “We support equal rights for homosexuals, but not ‘special privileges’ for homosexuals,” in their never-ending campaigns against gay equality.

Jumping ahead, we now have loving gay couples who are not promiscuous, who want to lead normal, supportive family lives, yet again the religious extremists have displayed their disingenuous words.

Our Constitution is traditionally there to support equal rights, not discard them. The Republican California Supreme Court ruled that granting marriage, a civil, not religious contract only to heterosexuals amounts to special privileges for heterosexuals in California.

Often I have heard conservatives say, “I think everyone should be treated equally and have equal opportunities and that’s why I’m opposed to affirmative action.” And we have all heard the line, “Same-sex marriage threatens the sanctity of marriage!” If these people were truly authentic in that belief, their proposition would have banned divorce, as nothing threatens the sanctity of marriage more than the big “D”!

I am sad that I was unable to vote against inequality. The California I knew in its day strived to welcome progress, compassion and equality. The California I knew had Governor Reagan speak out strongly against the religious extremists who tried to ban gays as schoolteachers!

While I may have physically deserted California, I pray that those of you there and in other states facing this civil rights issue will open your hearts and minds and help save the life of that little boy or girl out there who hear you say whether they are a worthwhile human being deserving what you take for granted, the right to love and marry. I support equal rights for all, not special privileges for heterosexuals. That is why I march.

Paul A. Harris lives in Eureka Springs, Ark.

Written by kickingalion

December 7, 2008 at 3:38 pm

The Courts & California’s Gay Marriage Ban

The legal challenge to California’s Proposition 8 has six lawsuits going for it, a host of influential friends of the court and the governor’s opinion that the ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Whether the challenge has a chance is another matter.

In a recent meeting with the Los Angeles Times’ editorial board, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed confidence that the ban would be overturned, because the California Supreme Court this year rejected an earlier ban, Proposition 22, as unconstitutional. The governor is being politically sensible but legally naive about this; the arguments against Proposition 8 hang on different precedents, issues and history.

The definition of marriage in the two initiatives is identical: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” But Proposition 8 embeds that definition in the state Constitution, and it would defy reason for the court to hold that part of the Constitution is unconstitutional. In challenging the measure, the lawsuits argue that it is not in fact a constitutional amendment, which requires only a simple majority of the popular vote for passage, but rather a constitutional revision, a fundamental change in the Constitution that entails a far more complicated approval process.

The state Supreme Court has never been all that clear on what it considers revision, but it has set the bar high, finding only twice that supposed amendments actually revised the Constitution. Measures that insert sizable passages on multiple issues seem to fall into the “revision” category; in a 1948 case, the court struck down an amendment that would have added 21,000 words covering various topics to the 55,000-word Constitution.

Proposition 8 lies at the opposite end of the spectrum, a mere 14 words that strip one group of people (homosexual couples) of one right (legally recognized marriage). The California court rejected similar challenges to the death penalty and to a proposition that affected property taxes, both of which, it ruled, were properly considered amendments, not revisions. And this year, the Oregon Court of Appeals rejected a lawsuit on same-sex marriage much like the current lawsuits — Oregon’s Constitution has similar provisions on revision and equal protection. As a result, the legal challenge to Proposition 8 is generally seen as a long shot.

Yet that doesn’t mean the lawsuits are without merit. The California court has indicated that the quality of the change matters, not just its length or breadth. Gay-rights supporters argue that by stripping a protected group of the right to marry, Proposition 8 nullifies the equal-protection provisions of the U.S. and California constitutions. The Oregon court disagreed, but there is a potentially important difference between the two states: The Oregon Supreme Court has never ruled that marriage is a fundamental right under its state Constitution. The California Supreme Court has.

There are other legal precedents to consider. In 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a constitutional amendment in Colorado that would have forbidden all laws protecting civil-rights for homosexuals. The ban violated the equal-protection provisions of the 14th Amendment, the court wrote, by singling out one group to be denied the rights enjoyed by all others.

But there also are differences between the Colorado and California measures. In Colorado, gays and lesbians were denied legal protection against discrimination in housing, employment and other basics of life. The court cited the breadth and basic nature of these rights in its ruling, saying there could be no legitimate state interest in the measure, simply animosity toward one group; in contrast, same-sex marriage is both newer and narrower, although, according to the California high court, an equally basic right.

Although we, too, will welcome the day that Proposition 8 is consigned to history and the right to same-sex marriage is restored to Californians, we are sorry to see that the court agreed to take the cases directly rather than letting this issue percolate up through the lower courts. We see no reason for the haste, despite the intensity of emotion roused by the measure’s passage. In fact, that very heatedness is a reason for the court to move slowly, allowing it to rule under cooler circumstances.

Similarly, painful though it is to see Proposition 8 take effect, we agree with the court’s decision to allow it to stand as law until the court rules. This is a hateful measure, passed after a campaign of misleading scare tactics, but it did pass. Suspending further same-sex marriages while the litigation proceeds will delay the exercise of this fundamental right, but we are a democratic nation and one bound by the rule of law; until voters reconsider or the courts decide otherwise, there is no option but to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Many voters will claim that the courts should have no jurisdiction. Just as they did after the California court’s May ruling that legalized same-sex marriage, these people will complain about “activist judges” potentially subverting the will of the people. Maybe schools need to strengthen their civics lessons so that future voters will understand that supreme courts specifically are charged with ruling on constitutional questions — and it is a sacred and historic role of the courts to protect minority rights as enshrined in state and federal constitutions. Indeed, if courts merely existed to ratify the will of majorities, they would add little to our society.

The California Supreme Court could rule either way on whether Proposition 8 amounts to a constitutional revision, but the issue demands its attention. The court already has found that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right; now it has the opportunity to fulfill its constitutional obligations to guard against the tyranny of the majority and to ensure that elections do not become vehicles of repression.

Written by kickingalion

November 24, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Petition: No Outside Interests

When is someone going to start a petition which bans outside interests from contributing to issues which affect Californians? 

If you don’t live in the Land of Fruit and Nuts, then you shouldn’t be allowed to have a say in our laws!  Period.

This rant, brought to you by yet another article revealing that Idaho residents gave money to the “protect” marriage campaign.

Written by kickingalion

November 11, 2008 at 5:27 am