Saturday, November 29, 2008

SURVIVOR CEREMONY: Sky Terrace Mobile Lodge in Lake View Terrace

i was extremely humbled and honoured to be invited by the SKY TERRACE MOBILE LODGE community to lead a ceremony for the survivors of the MAREK/MEREK FIRES, to help acknowledge the residents' many losses, including their beloved pets, and to grieve over the transient man who lost his life in the fire.

The Los Angeles Times reported on the CEREMONY, in an effort to call attention to the community and to help them receive assistance from the government and federal agencies:

"After hearing from Venus Kitagawa-Stojsic, who described herself as a
Celebrant with a humanist church, the residents spoke about what they had lost
and their experiences since flames raced through Sky Terrace on Oct. 13.

"The ceremony ended with a moment of silence to pray for the homeless man
and pets killed in the fire. None of the Sky Terrace residents knew the man's
name, and officials have yet to identify him.

"Most of us have a bond now that we didn't have before, but this ceremony
is about moving on and restarting our lives," Zuchegna said."
Many, many thanks to the residents of Sky Terrace, to Linda Zuchegna for contacting me, and to her husband, the esteemed animator and CalArts professor Corny Cole.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NEWS: California Supreme Court Grants Review in Prop 8 Legal Challenges

This is an official email i received from Equality California:

Court to Determine Constitutionality of Prop 8

Today the California Supreme Court granted review in the legal challenges to Proposition 8, which passed by a narrow margin of 52 percent on November 4. In an order issued today, the Court agreed to hear the case and set an expedited briefing schedule. The Court also denied an immediate stay. On November 5, 2008, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of Proposition 8 in the California Supreme Court on behalf of six couples and Equality California. The City of San Francisco, joined by the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, and Santa Clara County, filed a similar challenge, as did a private attorney in Los Angeles. The lawsuits allege that, on its face, Proposition 8 is an improper revision rather than an amendment of the California Constitution because, in its very title, which was “Eliminates the right to marry for same-sex couples,” the initiative eliminated an existing right only for a targeted minority. If permitted to stand, Proposition 8 would be the first time an initiative has successfully been used to change the California Constitution to take way an existing right only for a particular group. Such a change would defeat the very purpose of a constitution and fundamentally alter the role of the courts in protecting minority rights. According to the California Constitution, such a serious revision of our state Constitution cannot be enacted through a simple majority vote, but must first be approved by two-thirds of the Legislature. Since the three lawsuits submitted on November 5, three other lawsuits challenging Proposition 8 have been filed. In a petition filed on November 14, 2008, leading African American, Latino, and Asian American groups argued that Proposition 8 threatens the equal protection rights of all Californians. On November 17, 2008, the California Council of Churches and other religious leaders and faith organizations representing millions of members statewide, also filed a petition asserting that Proposition 8 poses a severe threat to the guarantee of equal protection for all, and was not enacted through the constitutionally required process for such a dramatic change to the California Constitution. On the same day, prominent California women’s rights organizations filed a petition asking the Court to invalidate Proposition 8 because of its potentially disastrous implications for women and other groups that face discrimination. In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court held that barring same-sex couples from marriage violates the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and violates the fundamental right to marry. Proposition 8 would completely eliminate the right to marry only for same-sex couples. No other initiative has ever successfully changed the California Constitution to take away a right only from a targeted minority group. Over the past 100 years, the California Supreme Court has heard nine cases challenging either legislative enactments or initiatives as invalid revisions of the California Constitution. In three of those cases, the Court invalidated those measures.

You can get complete information regarding the actual case itself from the California courts website.

Monday, November 10, 2008

NEWS: Prop. 8 Protests, Petitions and Update

People protested Prop. 8 all over Orange County and Los Angeles this past weekend...

Here's a bit more disappointing news from the LA Times this weekend: "Even with 2.7 million outstanding ballots statewide -- some mail-in and some provisional -- the odds aren't in favor of beating out the gay-marriage ban's lead of more than half a million votes."

Also, here is a 'Tale of Two Votes', comparing the Prop. 8 and Prop. 22 outcomes.

As of late, i have been made aware of Equality California's petition, and Courage Campaign's petition to repeal Proposition 8.

Prop. 8 effects have already been felt by same-sex marriage based businesses, including my own wedding officiant business, A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CEREMONY. The New York Times is reporting on economic downturns in the same-sex wedding market.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

NEWS: Three lawsuits filed challenging Prop. 8

According to the Los Angeles Times today:
"The first action was filed by the ACLU, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Lambda Legal. Santa Clara County and the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles also sued, and Los Angeles lawyer Gloria Allred filed a third suit on behalf of a married lesbian couple....

"All the lawsuits cited the constitutional revision argument, and two of them asked the court to block Proposition 8 from taking effect while the legal cases were pending. "The court must hold that California may not issue licenses to non-gay couples because if it does it would be violating the equal protection clause," Allred said at a news conference.

"A California Supreme Court spokeswoman said the court would act "as quickly as possible" on the challenges.Other lawsuits could follow, but gay rights groups have called on supporters not to file cases in federal court. They fear that a loss at the U.S. Supreme Court could set back the marriage movement decades."

"Prop. 8 not retroactive, Attorney General Jerry Brown Says" from an SF Gate article dated 5 August 2008.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

NEWS: If Proposition 8 Passes, What Happens to Same-Sex Couples Who Were Already Married?

Will Prop. 8 cancel out recent same-sex marriages? No one seems to know for sure. Until i get ahold of someone at the clerk-recorder's office or the registrar of the state of California, or an official statement is made, i will continue to compile information from different sources on this issue.

Bay Area newspaper SF Gate writes about the legal action being taken to block the measure, and possible repercussions if Prop. 8 does indeed pass.

Hear a story on NPR with UC Berkeley professor Jesse Choper about some possibilities that were discussed before the election.

Listen to another story on NPR discussing possible legal grounds and other directions from which to fight against Proposition 8.

That's it for now, i'll be updating frequently.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

WEDDING: GLBT Ceremony in Foothill Ranch, CA


The best place to be wed is amongst your families and friends. This adorable couple tied the knot (see below) in the heart of Orange County, at a hotel in Foothill Ranch. When we met, i found out we had much in common, such as our love of friends and food!
Zach, who is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School (!!) and an ordained minister himself, gave me the tremendous honour of wearing his ministerial stole during the ceremony! Near the end of the ceremony, i bound Zach and Dave's hands together with the stole.