The ballot initiative that revoked marriage equality in California has taken a big step towards having its constitutionality determined by America’s highest court. In a long-awaited move, proponents of Prop 8 have petitioned the Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in Hollingsworth .v Perry that the ballot initiative violated the federal Equal Protection Clause. A nearly 500 page document, which can found here, lays out their rationale for urging the court to review the case.
Prop 8 Trial Tracker broke down the core of their argument:
The question presented in the case is: “Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.” The proponents tell the Court that they should answer the “profoundly important question whether the ancient and vital institution of marriage should be fundamentally redefined to include same-sex couples.” They write that leaving the Ninth Circuit’s decision intact would have “widespread and immediate negative consequences” and would leave the impression that any “experiment” with marriage would be “irrevocable”.
The Ninth Circuit issued a very narrow ruling, avoiding the question of whether gay and lesbian couples in general have a constitutional right to marry. Instead, it based its ruling on narrow grounds unique to California, where same-sex couples were left with all the state rights of marriage but not the name. It found that taking their designation of “marriage” while leaving their rights unchanged did not serve any of the purposes put forth by its defenders. Instead, its only purpose and effect was to lessen a targeted group’s status and dignity by reclassifying their relationship and families as inferior. While the Supreme Court will be presented with the narrower question as framed by the Ninth Circuit, it is impossible to tell, if it agrees to hear the case at all, whether they will rule on this principle or more broadly on the ability of states to deny lesbians and gays the right to marry.
The Supreme Court will likely decide in early October whether or not to hear the case. Back in February, PFAW applauded the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in upholding the decision of the district court striking down Prop 8.
Marriage equality is just one of the many critical issues that will come before the Supreme Court when they reconvene next session. The elevation of Prop 8 to the highest level of the judicial system underscores the increasing importance of the Supreme Court and the Presidential election.
It is a difficult to imagine a more conservative Court than the one we have now, but Mitt Romney has pledged to appoint justices even further to the right then John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Romney has also enlisted far-right judge Robert Bork to advise him on judicial matters.
Visit RomneyCourt.com for more on Mitt Romney’s extreme vision for the Supreme Court.
Today, Assembly Joint Resolution 22 passed the California Senate with a 24-11 vote, and thus California became the sixth state – joining Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont, Maryland and Rhode Island – to call upon Congress to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s disastrous 2010 Citizens United decision. That decision opened the floodgates to corporate and special interest spending in our elections; and sparked a grassroots movement to amend the Constitution and restore government of, by, and for the people.
AJR 22 was introduced by Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski, who stated, “Today’s vote sends a clear message that California rejects this misguided ruling made by the conservative activists on the Supreme Court.” That same block of conservative Supreme Court justices who supported the majority opinion in Citizens United just weeks ago summarily reversed a case brought to the court by Montana, which refused to strike down their century-old anti-corruption law prohibiting corporate expenditures in elections – proving now, more than ever before, the need for an amendment to overturn the ruling.
California’s largest cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco, have already passed amendment resolutions, as have well over 30 other municipalities in the state. Support for the amendment strategy has been following this bottom-up trend (from grassroots to local; local to state; and state to federal) in a democratic surge of activism that demonstrates the power of the movement. As recently witnessed in Philadelphia, public officials take note when these resolutions pass.
It is now the responsibility of the Californian congressional delegation to join – if they have not already – the growing list of public officials who have pledged their support for constitutional remedies. And it is the responsibility of Californians, and people across the nation, to keep fighting and pushing for an amendment.
The money in politics problem is not going away … but neither are we. Onward!
After the California State Senate and an Assembly committee approved a bill placing limits on sexual orientation conversion therapy, the right-wing group Save California is framing the legislation as an attack on victims of child abuse. Relying on the discredited claim that homosexuality is a result of molestation, Save California is urging members to contact legislators to stop “this horrible bill locking children into homosexual bondage” that will prohibit counseling for those “who have often been molested or raped.” “What lack of love for children suffering from gender confusion disorder, who’ve often been molested and become confused as a result,” the group maintains, including an image stating: “Democrat politicians to molested kids: No help for you.” Led by the virulently anti-gay activist Randy Thomasson, Save California also recently launched a new page, “Not Born This Way” to expose the supposed “myths” about homosexuality.
UPDATE: SB 1172, the Democrats' tyrannical bill banning gender-confusion counseling for minors was skipped over during Monday's floor session of the California State Assembly. But this horrible bill locking children into homosexual bondage could still pass on Thursday, July 5, so it's important that you take a couple minutes right now to oppose it. Leave a recorded message or send an email to your assemblymember.
SB 1172, which has already passed the Senate, would:
1. Ban California parents from seeking counseling for their son or daughter who falsely think they are "homosexual"
2. Penalize licensed counselors who care enough to counsel these gender-confused children, who have often been molested or raped
SB 1172 reads, "Under no circumstances shall a mental health provider engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a patient under 18 years of age, regardless of the willingness of a patient, patient's parent, guardian, conservator, or other person to authorize such efforts."
What an attack on parental rights and on mental health professionals! And what lack of love for children suffering from gender confusion disorder, who've often been molested and become confused as a result. The Democrats pushing this bill on behalf of homosexual activists want to lock children into thinking they are "homosexual," when these kids' gender confusion often results from an attack by a sexual perpetrator.
Back in April we reported on a suit filed against TBN – the right-wing televangelism powerhouse based in Orange County, California – by Brittany Koper, a granddaughter of TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch and a former senior executive at the organization. The suit alleged “multiple cover-ups of sexual and criminal scandals,” including a cover-up of a “bloody sexual assault.” A new suit, filed last week by Koper’s 19-year-old sister Carra Crouch, sheds signficant light on the allegation.
A granddaughter of Trinity Broadcasting Network founders Jan and Paul Crouch filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that she was plied with alcohol and raped by a TBN employee when she was just 13 — and that her family covered up the incident, rather than report it to authorities, to protect TBN’s reputation.Carra Crouch, now 19, was distraught after the 2006 assault by a 30-year-old man, and told her grandmother what had happened. “Jan (Crouch) became furious and began screaming at Ms. Crouch, a thirteen year old girl, and began telling her ‘it is your fault,’” according to the suit.Carra Crouch then told John Casoria, TBN’s in-house counsel and her second cousin; he became agitated and told her that he didn’t believe her, it says. “He elaborated by stating he further believed she was already sexually active ‘so it did not really matter’ and he ‘believed she may have propositioned him,’ ” the suit alleges.
The 30-year-old TBN employee, who Crouch had known for years, wound up in her room and ordered a bottle of wine from room service on Trinity’s account (“Trinity Broadcasting makes a regular practice of providing alcohol to its employees during business meetings”), the suit alleges. He coerced her to drink it “in an attempt to get her intoxicated,” and she did, it says. She asked him to leave her room, and he responded by giving her a glass of water to “help her feel better.”Carra Crouch drank the glass of water and passed out immediately, according to the suit. When she awoke the next morning, the man was lying next to her, there was blood on the bed sheets, and she had “severe pain and soreness in her body in places which indicated she had been molested and raped,” it alleges. She locked herself in the bathroom and screamed at the man to leave her room, and returned to California that day.That glass of water, Crouch now believes, contained a date rape drug which caused her to pass out.
Casoria, TBN’s in-house attorney, fired him over the telephone, saying Trinity had gathered enough evidence to terminate him with cause, that the evidence was “most probably sufficient to bring criminal charges” against him, and that Trinity would not disclose the evidence to the police if he would not file for unemployment, worker’s compensation or an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claim, the suit alleges.
This afternoon, the full 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to hear an appeal of the Prop 8 case. In February, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit struck down Prop 8, finding California's revocation of the right of same-sex couples to marry same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional. The 9th Circuit's decision means that either the Supreme Court will take up the case or the 9th Circuit’s decision striking down the law will stand.
The appeals court ruling is on narrow grounds unique to California, where same-sex couples were left with all the state rights of marriage but not the name. It found that taking away gay and lesbian couples’ designation of “marriage” while leaving their rights unchanged did not serve any of the purposes put forth by its defenders. Instead, its only purpose and effect was to lessen a targeted group’s status and dignity by reclassifying their relationship and families as inferior. The Court did not address the larger question of whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry. While the Supreme Court will be presented with the narrower question as framed by the Ninth Circuit, it is impossible to tell, if it agrees to hear the case at all, whether they will rule on this principle or more broadly on the ability of states to deny lesbians and gays the right to marry.
Eagle Forum’s San Diego chapter is hosting a conference in June to unite conservatives in Democratic-leaning California before the upcoming election:
Tomorrow, Friday June 1, 4-9pm prominent national, state and local leaders will address hundreds of conservatives at the "Rise Up California" Eagle Forum San Diego Convention at Skyline Church in Rancho San Diego. The purpose of the convention is to gather, energize, educate, empower and activate conservative Californians 4 days prior to the primary, and into the November general election.
Brian Brown and Jennifer Roback Morse of the National Organization for Marriage will also address the conference alongside Vision America’s Rick Scarborough, a birther and “Christocrat” who believes AIDS is part of God’s judgment and is working against the “sexual anarchy led by sodomites.” The NOM leaders’ appearance with Scarborough, who as Kyle noted earlier today mourned the decline of the white population, won’t help their attempts to distance NOM from a campaign memo based on sowing racial divisions and build a “rainbow coalition” to oppose the gay rights “storm.”
Joining them will be Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, the anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist who was banned from CPAC and the “Weyrich lunch” for his extremist views and attacks on fellow conservative leader Grover Norquist.
Another speaker is Dinesh D’Souza, who is turning his discredited book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage, into a movie with the help of Republican megadonor Joe Ricketts, who recently had to drop a proposed plan to finance racially-charged ads linking President Obama to Jeremiah Wright.
Other activists appearing at the event include Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, Charles LiMandri of the far-right Thomas More Law Center, the Libertarian Party’s nominee for Vice President in 2008 Wayne Allyn Root, Dran Reese of the Salt and Light Council, and anti-environmentalist campaigner Holly Swanson.
The Senate yesterday confirmed prominent Los Angeles attorney Paul J. Watford to serve on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Watford, whose qualifications earned him the highest possible rating from the American Bar Association, becomes just the fourth African American ever to hold a seat on the Ninth Circuit. He is now one of two African American judges on the 29-member circuit court, the busiest in the country, which covers nine western states, as well as two territories.
“Paul Watford as an exceptionally qualified nominee will effectively and judiciously serve the people of California as a Ninth Circuit judge,” said Rev. Dr. Lewis Logan of Los Angeles, a member of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action. “And now, thanks to Judge Watford’s confirmation, there are two African Americans out of 29 active judges on the Ninth Circuit. Clearly, there’s much more work to be done to ensure that our court system reflects the diversity of people that it serves. This particular confirmation represents a substantive and significant step forward.”
President Obama has brought more diversity to the federal courts than any other president in history. Of the president’s exceptionally qualified judicial nominees, nearly 40 percent have been people of color and nearly half have been women. In contrast, just 18 percent of President Bush’s judicial nominees were people of color and just 23 percent were women. Unfortunately, President Obama’s efforts to diversify the bench have met with strident opposition from Republicans in the Senate, who have used procedural tactics to block qualified nominees.
“Diversity in our courts matters,” said Rev. Leonard Jackson of Las Vegas, also a member of African American Ministers in Action. “A diverse federal court system inspires confidence in those who turn to it for justice and ensures that many voices are heard in the halls of power. Paul Watford is a stellar nominee, and will bring an important voice to the busiest circuit court in the country.”
The Senate today confirmed the nomination of Paul J. Watford to sit on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Watford, who has a stellar resume as a Supreme Court clerk, prosecutor and appellate litigator will fill one of three emergency vacancies on the Ninth Circuit, the busiest circuit in the country. He will become just the fourth African American ever to serve on the Ninth Circuit.
Despite Watford’s qualifications and the urgency of filling the vacancy, Senate Republicans stalled his nomination for over three months after he was approved by the judiciary committee. Sen. Reid was forced to file cloture to break the months-long filibuster of Watford’s nomination. Faced with widespread support for the nomination, including from their own constituents, Republicans dropped their planned filibuster this afternoon and at last allowed a straight yes-or-no vote. Watford was confirmed in a 61 to 34 vote.
“Paul Watford is a stellar choice for the Ninth Circuit,” said Marge Baker of People For the American Way. “He promises to be an intellectual leader on the court and a fair and thoughtful jurist. He also makes history as only the fourth African American judge ever elevated to the Ninth Circuit, and one of only two African Americans currently sitting on the 29-member court.
“It is shameful that Senate Republicans filibustered for so long such a highly qualified nominee to fill an emergency vacancy. Sen. Reid is to be commended for forcing a vote. Again and again, the Senate GOP has used political gridlock to interfere with the proper functioning of America’s courts. The result has been an unprecedented vacancy crisis and unacceptable delays for individuals and businesses seeking their day in court. The American courts deserve better than this unprincipled, unrelenting gridlock.”
The New York Times on Saturday covered Dr. Robert Spitzer’s retraction of his 2003 study on the supposed effectiveness of ‘ex-gay’ reparative therapy, concluding that it “failed the test of scientific rigor” and was irredeemably flawed. Reparative therapy, also known as sexual orientation conversion therapy, has been deemed ineffective, harmful, and unethical by leading medical groups, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Counseling Association, the American School Counselor Association and the Pan American Health Organization (a division of the World Health Organization).
But that doesn’t stop Religious Right activists from parroting blatant falsehoods about reparative therapy, as Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute told talk show host Janet Mefferd on Friday that the effectiveness of such therapy is “at least over 80%,” citing discredited “therapist” Joseph Nicolosi. Speaking about a bill in the California state legislature that would place limits on reparative therapy, Dacus claimed that if the legislation passes it will mean that “many hundreds of thousands or millions of youths who will be led down a path of death and destruction.”
Mefferd: Brad, is there overwhelming evidence that reparative therapy is a fraud?
Dacus: Actually it’s contrary, there’s overwhelming evidence that reparative therapy actually works. It’s not 100% because you have individual will and every person has their own issues. But Dr. [Joseph] Nicolosi and other famous psychiatrists who have treated this, thousands and thousands of patients, report a very high success rate, I know it’s at least over 80%, I believe it’s 80-85% success rate. These are people who leave the lifestyle, get married to people, have children, and enter heterosexual relationships. It’s a big mass of deception that they are trying to carry out at the expense of many hundreds of thousands or millions of youths who will be led down a path of death and destruction, unfortunately, if they get away with this.
Dacus, who earlier called the bill a “gross and outrageous violation against humanity,” also dubbed the bill “diabolical” and maintained that being gay is a result of child abuse or strained parental relationships, and that gay men have “an average lifespan of the age of 40.”
Dacus: This attempt to politicize this issue is going to leave a huge number of casualties and victims in its wake in the form of children and even adults.
Dacus: It’s very diabolical, it’s undermining parents. The assumption of those who are pushing this lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual movement, is that the average parent out there is ignorant, is harmful, is dangerous to children when they don’t affirm the child’s sexual orientation. Of course parents want what’s best for their children, parents love their children, and parents know that the homosexual lifestyle gives for boys an average lifespan of the age of 40. It’s worse than being a chain cigarette smoker. Parents who love their children are going to want to do everything they can, especially in the developmental, preadolescence, to steer them in the right direction. In fact, the majority of children work it through. But when you have children who have been sexually abused or youth who have not had any kind of bonding with their father or affirmation of their father, they are very subject to this and are in need of counseling.
Like his fellow Proposition 8 supporters Che Ahn and Jim Garlow, Lou Engle maintains that their prayers led to the reversal of marriage equality in California in 2008 and a “sovereign appointment” with former San Francisco mayor (and current Lt. Gov.) Gavin Newsom “to call him to accountability to what he was going to do in that city concerning the homosexual agenda.” While speaking today with Pat Robertson on the 700 Club to publicize the upcoming The Call: Virginia, which Robertson has endorsed, Engle said his September, 2010 prayer rally in Sacramento “removed” the state’s governor from office. However, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had already made the decision not to run for re-election in November, 2009, and Democrat Jerry Brown won the gubernatorial race later that year.
Robertson: Tell me one example where prayer that you know of—I know many—changed things in a nation?
Engle: I look at my own story and my prayer history in California, on a forty day season of fasting and prayer, God spoke to me that I needed to contend with those heavenly powers through humility and fasting. We believe, two stadium gatherings, a forty day fast across California, the governor of California, right after The Call in Sacramento, was removed from office, also put me in front of Gavin Newsom in a sovereign appointment to call him to accountability to what he was going to do in that city concerning the homosexual agenda. It’s actually changed so much, in my life and with the journey that I’m in, let alone many, many, stories of prayer changing history.
Robertson: One more time, Fredericksburg, Virginia, a linchpin state, there’s people coming all around the nation to join The Call.
The Pacific Justice Institute, a California-based Religious Right group, is attacking a bill that would bar minors from undergoing discredited “ex-gay” reparative therapy and ensure that older patients sign a disclaiming informing of reparative therapy’s well-known “harmful” effects. In an interview with LifeSiteNews, PJI president Brad Dacus called the legislation a “gross and outrageous violation against humanity” and an “egregious attack on children and youth”:
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), one of several groups who testified against the bill last week, said the bill’s anti-conservative bias was extreme even by California’s standards.
“I can honestly say this is one of the most outrageous, speech-chilling bills we have ever seen in California - and that’s saying a lot,” said Dacus, who told LifeSiteNews.com that the bill is “a child’s welfare issue.”
Dacus pointed out that clinical evidence has shown that sexual molestation and other trauma at an early age can lead to sexual confusion. “To deprive these young people of quality psychiatric counseling and therapy is a gross and outrageous violation against humanity,” he said.
Coupled with California’s recent legislation mandating that public schools use textbooks highlighting homosexual roles in history, Dacus said California’s legislators are waging an “egregious attack on children and youth.”
Today on Washington Watch Weekly Family Research Council president Tony Perkins hosted California pastor Jack Hibbs, who is promoting a petition drive to overturn SB 48 through a referendum. SB 48 ensures that prominent LGBT historical figures are included in textbooks, and has been a major target of fierce opposition from Religious Right groups, including the FRC. “Our children are being under attack,” Hibbs told Perkins, “we need to stand up and take our schools back so we can rescue our children.” Hibbs concluded, “We’re fighting for our children’s lives, right here in California.”
What we need Tony of representatives across the nation is to stand for what’s right, we need to be very careful, we’re not standing for some political kingdom or some political direction, this has come to a point now Tony where our children are being under attack, on our watch. Jesus said, woe to the man who allows the littlest of these to be offended for it would have been better for him to have never been born. That’s a serious issue, as pastors, as Christians, as churches, for that matter, as concerned citizens no matter what your belief is, we need to stand up and take our schools back so we can rescue our children from quite frankly an ongoing group of people who I don’t think any longer has what’s best in my child in mine any longer. There is an agenda and we need to push back from that agenda.
Get people in California that you know to sign the petition. You need to be a registered voter, at our church for example, you can register to vote and then move right on over the piece of paper and sign the petition. Signing the petition, dear friends, if we cannot sign a petition when it’s as easy as this then what are we going to do when things really get tough? So, you asked Tony how is it going, it’s going well but it can be going better. We need people involved, we need people to step up. We’re fighting for our children’s lives right here in California.
A lawsuit filed in California Superior Court against televangelism powerhouse TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) threatens to blow the lid off alleged misconduct and criminal activity at the very highest levels of the organization. TBN, which advertises itself as the “World’s Largest Christian Network,” is home to such luminaries as Rod Parsley, TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, John Hagee, Benny Hinn, James Robison and the larger-than-life founders of the network – Paul and Jan Crouch, and their son Matt – who are a constant presence in front of the camera.
The lawsuit alleges that Paul Crouch Sr. obtained a $50-million Global Express luxury jet for his personal use through a "sham loan," and that TBN funds paid for a $100,000 motor home for dogs owned by his wife, Janice Crouch, a network director.The suit also alleges that TBN bought residences across the country for its directors under the pretext that they were "guest homes" or "church parsonages." The properties include mansions used by the Crouch family in Newport Beach; side-by-side mansions in Windermere, Fla.; and homes in Nashville; Miami; and Irving, Texas, according to the suit.
"The soundness and veracity of these stories are completely undermined when you realize that they depend almost exclusively upon accusations from individuals who admitted they had embezzled and misappropriated over $1 million from the network, and its companion ministry, International Christian Broadcasting," May explained. […]"What the bulk of media stories don't explain is that these individuals used lawsuits to contrive absurd allegations that trusted TBN officials had illegally funneled millions of dollars for their own use," said May. "Add to that the fabrications that Dr. and Mrs. Crouch were using ministry funds to buy jewelry, jets, mansions, and mobile homes for dogs, and you have all the ammunition for a stereotypical attack against an esteemed media ministry."