Wednesday, November 12, 2008

L.A. County Board of Supervisors Vote to Support Prop 8 Challenge

Blurry, taken-with-my-phone picture of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting this morning where my colleague Zelda Kennedy and I spoke to encourage Los Angeles County to join in the lawsuit challenging Proposition 8.

And the good news just in from the L.A. Times is ...THEY DID!

[LOS ANGELES] The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted this afternoon to join a lawsuit filed by the City of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Clara County challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative voters passed by a narrow margin this month.

The vote was carried by the board’s three Democrats: Supervisors Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky, who proposed the board join the lawsuit, and Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke, who voted in support.

Of the two Republicans, Supervisor Michael Antonovich was out of town, and Supervisor Don Knabe left the meeting just as speakers began.

More than a dozen speakers appeared in support of the board’s vote and opposition to Proposition 8, including Los Angeles City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo, San Francisco City Atty. Dennis Herrera and several gay couples. Both Molina and Yaroslavsky, who have officiated at same-sex wedding ceremonies since California legalized them in June, said they acted out of a sense of duty and personal responsibility.

Yaroslavsky pointed out a couple he married who were among those speaking in support of the vote.

“Some of us may ask why the county supervisors would be involved and get so involved in this issue,” Molina said, citing their responsibility to supply marriage license, uphold the law and “balance the enforcement of Proposition 8 with recognizing the constitutional right of all our citizens.” Molina added, “On a personal note, I am here to say that the passage of Prop. 8 saddened and angered me on various levels.”

Yarolslavsky noted that was “a close call” given how divided the state and county have been on the question of gay marriage. He said that he was not always a supporter of gay marriage (he supported civil unions instead) but said he “was persuaded” by colleagues and his children.

“It’s very important for the County of Los Angeles to be at the table on this,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt anybody. It doesn’t adversely effect anybody else.”
PS -- The Board Meeting will be televised here in L.A. on KLCS at 10pm -- TOTALLY worth TIVOing for those in the local L.A. area just to hear the great opening statements by the S.F. City Attorney and our ownRocky Delgadillo.
And here's a link to a press release from San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera's office, which includes these quotes from Herrera's opening statement here in Los Angeles this morning:
“No matter what your view of same-sex marriage, the passage of Proposition 8 has pushed California to the brink of a constitutional crisis, and it’s important to understand why. This measure sought to do something that no constitutional amendment has ever done in our history: to strip a fundamental right from a protected class of citizens. In doing so, it did not merely undo a narrowly disfavored Supreme Court decision. Its effect is nowhere near so simple or elegant.

“Rather, it upended a doctrine of separation of powers deeply rooted in our system of governance; it trounced upon the independence of our state’s judiciary; and it eviscerated the most foundational principle of our state’s constitution.

“If allowed to stand, Prop 8 would so devastate the principle of equal protection that it could endanger the fundamental rights of any potential electoral minority — even for protected classes based on race, religion, national origin and gender.

“It would mean that a bare majority of voters could enshrine any manner of discrimination against any unpopular group — and our state constitution would be powerless to disallow it.

“Let us be clear: equal protection of the laws is what separates constitutional democracy from mob rule tyranny. It is a principle reaching back eight centuries to the Magna Carta. And it is what guided the founding of our state and our nation.”


john said...

I keep hoping and praying that, as more and more elected officials weigh in on the side of treating Prop. 8 as what it clearly is - a revision, not an amendment - the Court will find the political courage and will to do just exactly that. After all, the proponents can always come back and do it as the Constitution prescribes.

janinsanfran said...

I guess progressive gay San Francisco was right to jump on with Dennis Herrera when he first came up for election. There were choices, but he got most of us.