Paul Wellman

Gay in Santa Barbara

Voices of Hope, Courage, and Change

Thursday, June 27, 2013
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This week’s Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage constituted a stunning one-two punch in favor of marriage equality. In one sweeping action, the Supreme Court rejected the Defense of Marriage Act ​— ​which explicitly denied legal recognition in all matters federal for same-sex marriages. The court found DOMA unconstitutional because it intruded on the exclusive right of state governments to recognize marriage as they saw fit. Less sweepingly, the high court also struck down California’s Proposition 8 ​— ​which also defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. On more narrow, technical grounds, the high court ruled Prop. 8’s supporters lacked the legal standing necessary to appeal a lower court ruling that found the measure unconstitutional because it singled out a class of individuals based solely on personal animus. The supporters appealed only after California Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris both refused to do so. As a practical matter, gays and lesbians can now legally marry whom they love in California.

Marriage equality supporters will be celebrating long and loud this week. Rarely in the history of America’s many civil rights struggles has public opinion shifted so suddenly and profoundly. But this week, The Independent takes a look back at the road leading from then to now. For gays and lesbians living in Santa Barbara, the experience has been anything but smooth or quick, the choices frequently painful. Reflecting on their personal journeys are high school students coming to terms with their sexual orientation, a prominent attorney who came of age in the age of AIDS, a professional therapist, a UCSB sociologist, and a recently married couple transplanted from the Bible Belt. Their accounts reflect how far we’ve come. We hope they shed light on how far we have yet to go

DOMA’s avowed purpose and practical effect are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States.” —Majority opinion, U.S. Supreme Court, rejecting the Defense of Marriage Act

“This places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage. The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects. And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples.” —Majority opinion, U.S. Supreme Court, rejecting the Defense of Marriage Act

Podcast episode

Santa Barbara Hip-Hop, and being Gay in Santa Barbara

Matt Kettmann talks about hip-hop producer Damizza and Presqu’ile Winery opening and Robby Robbins reflects on being gay in Santa Barbara.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Apples and oranges are equal, but they're not the same. Difficult concept I know, that things can be equal and have different names. Similarly, same sex relationships and heterosexual relationships are equal, but they're not the same and should be called something different, not "marriage". Gay couples aren't interested in being equal, they want to change the definition of marriage and I don't support that.

zebu111 (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 6:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

For those who wish to make a distinction between heterosexual and gay marriages, I would assume the rationale is based on a religious or cultural basis. If true, I doubt they'll find any relief in Federal or State constitutions.

But, I'd be interested if anyone can cite a solid example where our constitutions offer first principal favors based on religious or cultural distinctions.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 9:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@zebu111 ... are you advocating for "separate but equal"?

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 9:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@EastBeach, I am advocating "different but equal". Are you race-baiting me?

zebu111 (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 9:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@zebu111: "Are you race-baiting me?"

EastBeach did not. You did that all on your own.

@zebu111: "Gay couples aren't interested in being equal, they want to change the definition of marriage and I don't support that."

Those who don't support marriage rights for same sex couples want to change the definition of the word 'equal', and I do not support that.

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 10:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Guess what Zebu and all you other ignoramuses, it's "MARRIAGE", go stuff yourselves!
Don't like it, find a time machine and move back a few centuries.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Booo to religion.

Yeah!! to humanity evolving!

Riceman (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 11:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Speaking against marriage equality for gays is no different from saying blacks should not be allowed to marry whites. It is hate speech. When people start giving their "opinion" about how they are against marriage equality, call them on it. Different views should be tolerated in a democracy, but never hate speech, and The Independent should not tolerate it either. Zebu's posts constitute hate speech. As such, they violate the Indie's policies, and should be removed immediately.

banjo (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 1:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Banjo - you're going a bit overboard. While I support gay marriage, I also support freedom of speech. As such, even speech that I don't agree with must be allowed. It's one thing to say "kill all (fill-in the blank)" and quite another to say "I don't support gay marriage."

Zebu may not share your point of view, but to call it hate speech is to deny the very same 1st Amendment rights you are exercising in voicing your support for gay marriage.

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 1:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I also support freedom of speech, and I don't deny Zebu's right to engage in hate speech (which is what it is), but, as such, it violates the Indie's guidelines, and should be removed. Hate speech against gays is not acceptable anymore, and just because it's someone's personal opinion doesn't make it any more acceptable. Saying "kill all (whatever)" is hate speech, just the same as saying marriage equality is wrong; although, the former is an actual threat, and I would be calling the cops if someone posted it. It's time for civilized Americans to call these bigots out, and let them know in no uncertain terms that this is not OK.

banjo (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 2:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Banjo - what Zebu said was not "hate speech." Labeling someone's Constitutionally protected opinions as "hate speech" is a dangerous and intolerant line to cross. Simply stating one's opposition to gay marriage is not enough to be considered "hate speech."

Because we, as a people, value freedom of speech under the 1st Amendment, sometimes we have to just deal with things we may not like to hear. But you can't go around calling everything "hate speech" just because it is contrary to your own opinion.

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 2:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Advocating that a particular group should be denied equal rights is hate speech. It just doesn't seem like it is, since the media society have, up until yesterday, made it OK to characterized this issue as a matter of opinion that is open to debate, just as it was OK to have the opinion that blacks should not be allowed to live in my neighborhood or marry or date white people when I was a kid. It's not OK with me, and I plan on calling out bigots anywhere who engage in this completely unacceptable behavior.

banjo (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 3:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As I've posted elsewhere, the government never should have been involved in defining marriage.

Saying the Supreme Court has done a good thing by "allowing" (my own citation) gays to get married is like saying we're getting a tax refund from the government, when the government already stole the money from us.

Also: If people want gay marriage banned on religious grounds, why aren't these same people demanding the government ban all divorce and remarriage? Oh wait, a double standard? (Gingrich, Dole, McCain, etc, you guys would be in trouble if THAT happened)

Let's not miss the point that it never was the government's right to define marriage in the first place.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 3:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

zubu, you're actually wrong, that definition is cultural and not literal.

You can marry two units of code on a computer by putting them in the same function.

You can marry two or more fruit juices together and make a punch.

You can marry a piece of wood to a hinge and make a door.

It just means to unite two or more things closely together for the purposes of staying together.

Our culture decided to use that word to describe the union between a man and a woman who decide to create a family and pro-create.

Our culture can continue to use that word however it wishes, but I would not recommend using the monopoly force of government to define cultural traditions.

Your church can use whatever definition it wants indefinitely, even if the rest of society decides that they wish to use a different definition.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 3:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with Bill, I don't think the government should have anything to do with marriage.

But as long as they are doing it, they have to provide the service equally to everyone.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 3:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Of course bc has got it right.

I think I will label all opinions that are contrary to mine "hate speech". Don't you just love this type of tolerance?

What's not to like about gay marriage:
No chance for abortion;
A ton of people stop living in sin.
The right should be thrilled with this ruling...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 9:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am a Christian and understand that marriage was not a state affair for the masses in the West until sometime in the 5th century. This means that state sanctioned marriage cannot be considered organic to Christianity.

ahem (anonymous profile)
June 27, 2013 at 9:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When the first lawsuit is filed against a church for discriminating against gay couples the real agenda will be apparent: to destroy the church and nuclear family. The state has no time to compete with self-reliant family units and uppity middle-class citizens. At it's core, the gay rights movement is eugenics in disguise.

zebu111 (anonymous profile)
June 28, 2013 at 7:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@zebu111: "When the first lawsuit is filed against a church for discriminating against gay couples the real agenda will be apparent: to destroy the church and nuclear family."

If those institutions are so flimsy and easily toppled that a few gay marriages can take them down, then good riddance. By the way, that's about the only serious consideration your laughably misguided and paranoid assertion deserves.

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
June 28, 2013 at 9:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Day two and the world hasn't ended, go figure. At their core "zebu11" is Satan's harlot, spreading hate and disinformation.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 28, 2013 at 11:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The funny thing about gay marriage is I don't really think that any Christians really care deep down inside if gay people get married behind closed doors and I don't think very many gay people really care to get married either. It just seems like a tug-of-war game the two groups like to play to show who has more power in the culture war.

The reality is this culture war where gay people want to be able to express themselves openly, and Christians don't want their kids exposed to it in fear of them turning gay, or don't want their bi kids to choose their own sex over the opposite for dating and sensuality. That's because they think their kids will go to hell and they won't ever see them again after they die.

LGBT's, on the other hand, know what it is like first hand or have a good idea from their peers on what it is like to grow up and have to pretend to be somebody you aren't and/or get mocked, bullied or worse. So they are trying to create a more comfortable environment while the Christians perceive it as some sort of recruiting structure.

What a troubling societal mechanism.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
June 28, 2013 at 11:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Zzzzzzzzz, I'm experiencing gay fatigue, zzzzzzzzz

redbunz (anonymous profile)
June 29, 2013 at 10:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Busy night on Bath St.?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 29, 2013 at 10:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Making this issue about the definition of marriage is so diversionary. How about this: No legal benefits come along with "marriage".

Now if you want to select a human being of the opposite gender in order to match body parts and make miniature little copies of each other, then you can get legal benefits.... And this opposite gendered procreation partner also must NOT already be a member of your family tree, this ain't Sweden sickos.

PaleFacesGoHome (anonymous profile)
June 29, 2013 at 5:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If the state decided it was in its interest to encourage procreation (e.g. we had some weird population shortage) then PFGH's idea might withstand Constitutional scrutiny ... so long as benefits were accorded only if the couple actually reared children.

To take that thought experiment one step further, one could envision offering the same legal benefits to those who adopt, regardless of orientation.

Of course the state currently deems marriage, with or without children, to be in its interest and therefore allows legal benefits that are unavailable to single folks.

And that takes us in a circle back to square one ... if the state allows a legal status to exist (e.g. "marriage") with associated priviledges, then the Constitution demands that people can obtain that status and its full benefits fairly. The problem with DOMA was only certain people (heterosexuals) could obtain that status. And the problem with "separate but equal" is the set of benefits are arguably not the same for all parties.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
June 29, 2013 at 7:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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