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Prop 8 Defense Lawyer Evolving on Marriage Equality

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Prop 8 OverThe lawyer who argued before the Supreme Court in favor of upholding California’s ban on gay marriage learned while he was handling the case that one of his children is gay and now is helping her plan her wedding with another woman. Attorney Charles Cooper says his view of same-sex marriage is evolving after having argued in court that gay unions could undermine marriages between a man and 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 favor 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.

Authored By Julie Pace – See the Full Story at Edge Boston

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What Should We Do With the “Yes on 8″ Donors?

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Prop 8 OverI know that in 33 states, workers can still be fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity. I remember the days after the Prop. 8 vote, misting up at random times when I remembered that a majority of my neighbors took away my right to marry. So I hope you’ll forgive the twinge of happiness I felt when Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned over his $1,000 donation to “Yes on Prop. 8.”

Seriously, I hope you’ll forgive me. Because I wouldn’t wanted to be fired or asked to resign six years from now for a less than generous opinion that wouldn’t affect my ability to do my job. Unless I was the public face of an organization that couldn’t handle my views. Then it’s OK. I guess. Maybe.

I’ve read columns and reporting on both sides of the Eich resignation, and my main conclusion is that it is complicated. Let’s start with what’s simple.

Eich technically resigned, but reporting on the events, including his statements, suggest that it wasn’t entirely his idea. As the First Amendment prevents the government, not private companies, from impinging on free speech, there’s little doubt Mozilla could have fired him had they needed to.

Authored By Joel Trambley – See the Full Story at LGBT Weekly

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Opposing View: Was Mozilla Flap Counter-Productive to Gay Rights?

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Firefox - MozillaYesterday, we featured Kos’s column on the Brendan Eich resignation. Today we’ll let Andrew Sullivan argue the opposing view.


Thank you for the hundreds and hundreds of emails about the Mozilla- Eich affair. My readers overwhelmingly disagree with me for a host of reasons. But I have to say that this time, the more I have mulled this over, the more convinced I am that my initial response to this is absolutely the right one. And not just the right one, but a vital one to defend at this juncture in the gay rights movement.

So let me concede all of the opposing arguments that have been deployed to defend the public shaming and resignation of Brendan Eich. To recap those points: This was not the “gay left” as such, but the “techie straight left” more broadly. Sure (I’ve been to San Francisco.) He wasn’t fired; he resigned. Undisputed. Mozilla is not your usual company. Obviously not. Being CEO is different than being just a regular employee and requires another standard. Sure. It doesn’t matter because we’re all marching toward victory anyway. Well, probably. This was a function of market forces and the First Amendment. You won’t get me to disagree about that.

So why am I more convinced that what just happened still matters, and matters a lot? I think it’s because these arguments avoid the core, ugly truth of what happened. Brendan Eich was regarded as someone whose political beliefs and activities rendered him unsuitable for his job. In California, if an employer had fired an employee for these reasons, he would be breaking the law:

1102. No employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity.

Now Eich was not in that precise position. He resigned as CEO under duress because of his political beliefs. The letter of the law was not broken. But what about the spirit of the law?


Editor’s note: I have to say, we’re conflicted over these types of cases – on the one hand sure, no one should be “punished” for what they believe. But on the other hand, I have to wonder if the outrage on Eich’s behalf would have been the same if he had donated to a referendum to strip marriage rights from mixed-race couples. Is it still ok, on some level, to show a public bias against gays and lesbians in a way that it’s not to openly show the same bias towards other races?

In any case, we believe that LGBT rights activists should try to be the adults in the room and show the other side a civility that’s often not accorded to us.

Authored By Andrew Sullivan – See the Full Story at The Dish

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Brendan Eich Was a Victim of Market Forces

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Firefox - MozillaBrendan Eich is a tech legend, the inventor of Javascript–a programming language that powers much of what’s cool on the web. He is also a bigot, a donor to California’s successful Prop 8 effort in 2008 to enshrine hate in the state constitution by banning same-sex marriage.

Last week he was named as CEO of the Mozilla Foundation, a nonprofit organization best known for the Firefox browser. It is an organization in turmoil, as the mobile revolution makes desktop computers increasingly irrelevant, and with that, Mozilla’s core product.

The problem with Eich is that, well, he’s a bigot. And worse than that, he hasn’t “evolved” since 2008, like so much of America. He held steadfast to his beliefs, out-of-step with the world his product serves. So the Mozilla community erupted in anger, and after a half-assed effort to hang on, Eich resigned the position. So of course, you have people screaming about “persecution” from the usual conservative suspects to contrarians like Andrew Sullivan.

Authored By Markos “Kos” Moulitsas- See the Full Story at the Daily Kos

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Silicon Valley’s Prop 8 Donations By Company

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Nate Silver Silicon Valley Prop 8 Graph

In the wake of Mozilla CEO Brandon Eich’s departure, gay uber statistician Nate Silver breaks down how Silicon Valley donated its money in the Prop 8 initiative race. Note: This is only a breakdown of the individuals who donated to either side of the Prop 8 initiative in Silicon Valley and who noted their company, not how the companies themselves donated.

Joe.My.God reports:

The list includes Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Cisco Systems, Apple, Google, Sun Microsystems, eBay, Oracle, Yahoo, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Symantec. I limited the search to donors who listed California as their location. In total between these 11 companies, 83 percent of employee donations were in opposition to Proposition 8. So Eich was in a 17 percent minority relative to the top companies in Silicon Valley. However, there was quite a bit of variation from business to business. At Intel, 60 percent of employee donations were in support of Proposition 8. By contrast, at Apple, 94 percent of employee donations were made in opposition to Proposition 8. The opposition was even higher at Google, where 96 percent of employee donations were against it, including $100,000 from co-founder Sergey Brin. There isn’t much data on Mozilla. Only four Proposition 8 donors listed it as their employer: Eich, who donated in support of the measure, and three others who opposed it.

It’s interesting to see the different corporate cultures reflected in these donation patterns.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in California.

USA: Mozilla CEO Resigns in Prop 8 Donation Controversy

Friday, April 4th, 2014

The new CEO of Mozilla has resigned after it was revealed that he had donated to the backers of Prop 8.

Firefox - MozillaABC news reports:

“I have decided to resign as CEO effective today, and leave Mozilla,” Eich said in a statement provided by Mozilla. “Our mission is bigger than any one of us, and under the present circumstances, I cannot be an effective leader. I will be taking time before I decide what to do next.” Eich was previously chief technology officer of the company, but had been involved in Mozilla’s development starting from its conception in 1998. The previous acting CEO Jay Sullivan had left the company to pursue “new opportunities,” the company said.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I’m torn over it – on the one hand, it’s sad to see someone who is opposed to marriage equality running a progressive tech company. On the the other hand, have we just created another martyr for the religious right? He did step down, and was not fired, but such distinctions are often lost on our opponents.

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USA, Utah: New Poll Says 57% Oppose Marriage Equality

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

titleA new poll contradicts a poll last week that showed support and opposition to marriage equality in Utah split at 48-48%.

Deseret News reports:

The poll found 57 percent of residents oppose same-sex marriage, while 36 percent support it and 6 percent are undecided, according to the survey conducted by longtime pollster Dan Jones & Associates/Cicero Group on Jan. 14-16. It has a plus or minus 3.6 percent margin of error. “I believe that they felt very strongly about their opinions on this issue,” Jones said of the 746 Utahns who were queried by telephone and cell phone and online. “Most issues that involve religion and religious ideology bring out the strong emotions in respondents.”

The article also points out that a majority now support civil unions, and are evenly split on recognizing the marriages of same sex couples performed in other states.

Meanwhile, down in Park City, it was a marriage equality day at the Sundance Film Festival.

The Wrap reports:

“Love is Strange” gave the issue a human face, while “The Case Against 8\0×2033 raised an emotional audience response. The political issue of marriage equality hovered over Sundance like a thundercloud that broke on Saturday, with a documentary about Prop 8 raising high emotions and the premiere of a touching drama about a gay couple that faces troubles after they marry. There were tears and strong emotions at the premiere of “The Case Against 8,” a documentary about the effort to overturn the California law banning gay marriage. The movie elicited a lengthy standing ovation, and the lawyers who fought the battle in attendance, Theodore Olson and David Boies, hung around to answer questions after the movie.

And Prop 8 lawyer Ted Olsen said he wants to see marriage equality in all 50 states within 5 years.

The Hollywood Reporter has the details:

“The goal is to have marriage equality in all 50 states in five years,” Olson said. If you look at the progress that has been made since June, I think you can see that we are well on our way.” Olson and Boies have joined a case that is pending in Virginia. “There will be a variety of processes,” Olson said of the legal strategy moving forward. “You will see it in some states by legislation. You will see it in some states by a state court. And you will see it in states where it doesn’t work in a federal court. We’ve seen it in a federal court here in Utah in the past couple of weeks.”

Now we wait for the 10th Circuit hearing on this and the Oklahoma case.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Utah.

USA, California: State Sees Huge Jump in Weddings In July

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Prop 8 OverFollowing the US Supreme Court’s rulings on Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, California saw a big spike in weddings.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Statistics from the California Department of Public Health show nearly 30,800 couples received marriage licenses in California in July, a 35 percent increase over July 2012. The data suggest that gay couples rushed by the thousands to purchase marriage licenses after the high court’s decisions paving the way for the legalization of same-sex nuptials in California and for federal recognition of them in Washington. But pinning down just how many of the 30,000 new marriages involved same-sex couples is tricky because California doesn’t make a distinction between same-sex and opposite-sex marriages. “The marriage applications don’t ask about the gender so we don’t have that information,” health department spokesman Matt Conens said.

There was a huge pent-up demand in the state after living for five years under Prop 8 – many couples married during the four month window in 2008, but many more didn’t, hoping to wait for the next year. Mark and I originally planned to have a 2009 wedding with all our friends and family. But we ended up getting married just three days before the hateful initiative passed, afraid we would miss our chance. It’s wonderful to see many of those couples, and many newer couples too, finally have the ability to marry in our state.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in California.

Traveling at the Speed of Love: Winning the Race for Equality

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Five years ago last week, on Election Day 2008, California’s electorate passed Prop 8, marking perhaps the most notable low point in the marriage equality movement as a minority was stripped of a previously recognized constitutional right. As of this week five years ago, only two states – Massachusetts and Connecticut – fully recognized the marriages of same-sex couples.

How far we’ve come since then. And how fast.

Read the full story on the MEUSA News Blog…

The Lay of the Land Post-Windsor and -Perry

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

With marriage equality now coming to Illinois and Hawaii, nearly 40% of the country lives in a marriage equality state. But just how federal and state governments will navigate the still-unsettled reality (and consequences) of marriage equality remains an open question.

Although Windsor invalidated Section 3 of DOMA, it left Section 2 in place, which allows states to refuse to recognize same gender marriages performed in other states. Marriages are not judgments or orders, and are therefore not entitled to equality under constitutional principles of full faith and credit among the states. This has the potential to impact benefits, parental rights, divorce, and other issues for same-sex couples depending on where they marry and where they live.

Read the full story on the MEUSA news blog…