Pacific Pride Foundation Executive Director David Selberg addressed attendees at the Rally for Marriage Equality on Tuesday.

Paul Wellman

Pacific Pride Foundation Executive Director David Selberg addressed attendees at the Rally for Marriage Equality on Tuesday.

Great Debate on Prop. 8

Supreme Court Takes Up Gay Marriage

Thursday, March 28, 2013
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Longtime Seattle resident Thomas Anastasi had been with his partner for 25 years when a 2004 ballot initiative to legalize gay marriage in Washington failed. The current minister of Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church in Goleta, Anastasi “went into this really big funk” and stopped officiating marriages. Still with the same partner today, he said, “It would just thrill me to get married here and to marry people ​— ​all people.”

Whether that happens will depend on the Supreme Court, which, on Tuesday and Wednesday, heard oral arguments for and against two laws preventing gay marriage, including California’s Proposition 8. The voter-approved ballot initiative banned gay marriage in this state, throwing out a California Supreme Court ruling that overturned a similar 2000 ballot proposition.

Ralliers came equipped with signs and unicorn costumes.
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Ralliers came equipped with signs and unicorn costumes.

With about 100 others, Anastasi attended a rally in support of gay marriage held at the Santa Barbara courthouse Tuesday evening. The rally was organized by the Pacific Pride Foundation and graced by dignitaries like Mayor Helene Schneider, Congressmember Lois Capps, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, and County Supervisor Janet Wolf, who officiated gay marriage ceremonies for the 140 days they were legal in California. Wolf told attendees about the last marriage she performed. It was an emotional event, she said, when two men who worked at UCSB and had been together for 25 years called her at 3 p.m. the day before the Prop. 8 election because they wanted to make sure they got married while it was still possible. Like Anastasi, she said, “I want to get back into the marriage business.”

Since Prop. 8 passed with a 52-48 margin, said Schneider, government and religious officials have “quote evolved.” The public has, too, according to a CBS News poll conducted last week. It found that 53 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage and that Republican support has spiked from 13 to 37 percent since May 2012. Schneider squeezed in her visit to the rally during a recess of the weekly City Council meeting.

Marriage between a man and a woman, he said, has implications for, among other things, the survival of society and the successful rearing of children.

Councilmember Dale Francisco did not accompany her. He donated $200 to the Prop. 8 campaign when it was on the ballot in 2008. Pointing out that he was speaking as a private citizen and not a councilmember, Francisco told The Santa Barbara Independent that “civil unions already give every benefit of marriage,” and that “the people who want to redefine marriage are never satisfied.” Marriage between a man and a woman, he said, has implications for, among other things, the survival of society and the successful rearing of children.

The connection between marriage and procreation was a topic of debate during the Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday. On that very point, Justice Elena Kagan prodded Charles J. Cooper, lawyer for, the group appealing a California Supreme Court decision that declared Prop. 8 unconstitutional in February 2012. “Suppose a state said that ‘because we think that the focus of marriage really should be on procreation, we are not going to give marriage licenses anymore to any couple where both people are over the age of 55,’” Kagan asked. “Would that be constitutional?”

Justice Kennedy, believed to be the swing vote on the nine-member Supreme Court, wondered whether the case should have been heard in the first place. “We have five years of information to weigh against 2,000 years of history or more,” he said. But he also noted the 40,000 children of same-sex couples in California whose voices should be heard.

We don’t want separate but equal rights with domestic partnerships,” he added.

The two cases before the court encapsulate a “historic moment,” said David Selberg, executive director of the Pacific Pride Foundation. He said he preferred the court make a judgment on the merits of same-sex marriage as opposed to a technical legalistic decision. “We don’t want separate but equal rights with domestic partnerships,” he added. The City of Santa Barbara counts 633 registered domestic partnerships in its records.

Gina Arminia, a 20-year-old gay college student who attended the rally with a friend after they saw the Facebook invitation, did not feel the historic weight of the moment, noting that a ruling against same-sex marriage would merely be a “speed bump” because the concept is steadily gaining cultural currency anyway. She felt pretty confident that Prop. 8 would not be reenacted and questioned why Chief Justice Roberts would invite his gay cousin to the hearing if he was going to disappoint her. (According to the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco woman, Jean Podrasky, solicited the tickets through Roberts’s sister, but the justice knows she will be sitting in a section reserved for his guests.)

One half of the first gay couple to be married in Santa Barbara County and the incoming principal at La Cuesta High School, Frann Wageneck spoke to the significance of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to same-sex partnerships. It was signed into law by President Clinton ​— ​who now says he opposes it ​— ​in 1996. Wageneck files joint state tax returns but must file individual federal returns. Her marriage is also not recognized in other states. Besides those practical concerns, however, she said that same-sex marriage is an issue of civil rights. “Being seen as an equal when you’re a hardworking American is important.”

LISTEN: Supreme Court Proposition 8 Oral Arguments


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Bravo Fastman for forcing Francisco to address the topic, he usually hides like a coward. Francisco has had far more negative impact on children and society than any amount of samesex marriages could hope to. Love how he tries to differentiate between being a councilman and a private citizen. When you're elected to office you're an official 24/7 365 days a year including equinox. Unelected people are private citizens.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 28, 2013 at 5:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm looking forward to Francisco's mayoral humiliation and all the money that will be wasted on that campaign, hehe.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 29, 2013 at 6:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

you nailed this one, KV, Francisco's living in the 1950s. It is NOT true, as Francisco says, that in defending traditional marriage he's defending "the successful rearing of children." There is considerable data going the other direction, and samesex parents do fine jobs raising kids. I also know this anecdotally since I've taught children of samesex couples and hey, they're just great kids who clearly (limited data here) have very fine parents.
I also know some older gay couples who do feel the whole "marriage" thing is ridiculous, and they do not desire this appellation. But until civil unions have every single financial etc. protection as traditional marriage, I hope SCOTUS overturns Prop 8: it's unconstitutional.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 30, 2013 at 8:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Not only does Francisco have it wrong, so does Antonin Scalia:

When SCOTUS justices render decisions based on incorrect notions, there is no justice. Scalia is especially prone to deliberating from the hip.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
March 30, 2013 at 10:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Washington Post blog EB cites shows very clearly that Justice Scalia did not do his homework on samesex parenting data; he didn't read or intentionally misread " the amicus curiae brief that the ASA [Am. Sociological Assoc] filed in the very case Scalia was commenting on" - there isn't disagreement among sociologists about whether samesex parents are good parents: they are. But then, Scalia is a traditional Catholic who is also a strict constructionist of the Constitution...except when he goes 180 degrees the other way and joins an activist (flexible) construction of the Const. like he did in stealing the 2000 election from Al Gore... not that it matters...oh, unless you count two stupid wars, over 4000 dead Americans (and 30,000 horribly maimed) AND some 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians. Vote dinosaur Francisco out of office.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 30, 2013 at 10:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

There is no such thing as a constructionist jurist. They all vote their way when it suits them and protect the "integrity" of certain amendments when this supports their politics.
For gawdsakes, stop living in the past. If Clinton had been willing to stump for Gore(he was amazingly absent from the campaign), the Democrats would have won going away and the mess we are in, which Obama is 100% CULPABLE FOR NOW, would never have. been imagined.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
April 1, 2013 at 7:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If anyone is living in the past, you are. The mess we are in -- remember you warning me not to generalize so much (you try to avoid it too) -- has been caused by many factors, Obama only one of them. He has also mitigated much of the MESS you mention.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 1, 2013 at 8:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

What does Dale Francisco have to do with laws regulating gay marriage? You might as well ask Obama about bulbouts. It's irrelevant.

Dale will be re-elected by a wide margin for several reasons. He more knowledgable and informed than anyone else on the council. People also vote differently in local elections than in federal elections. The people that live here want to preserve the lifestyle that they came here for. The local progressives want to change that in a way that will make Santa Barbara a less desirable place to live for most of the current residents. The local electorate knows that and they know Dale will be a leader in keeping that from happening.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 1, 2013 at 9:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Francisco is a charlatan, if you're happy being one of his dupes go for it. He is active in promoting discrimination and corruption.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 1, 2013 at 10:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Here's the numbers from the last Schneider/Francisco run off: Schneider 10,254 votes,
Francisco trailing with 7,602 votes.

Not a huge margin but with several other candidates in the race* pretty good for Schneider, and this was while Francisco still enjoyed some popularity. At this point in time there's not a single city of SB voter who hasn't been or knows someone who has been negatively impacted by Francisco's actions on the council. Not a wise investment.

*Steve Cushman, 3,644 votes
Isaac Garrett 481 votes
Bob Hansen 412 votes

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 1, 2013 at 3:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Botany, try listening to KV, and you too are living in the past. When you write, "The people that live here want to preserve the lifestyle that they came here for" you continue living in a gated community of your mind and 1% wannabes.
Francisco is finished.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 1, 2013 at 9:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The only "Conservative" that stands a chance against the virtually unbeatable Mayor Schneider is Rowse, who would definitely best Francisco. Even the oft befuddled Hotchkiss would score better than DF, because FH is at least seen as friendy tho prone to dramatics..

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 1, 2013 at 10:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Scalia says:

"... I am first of all a textualist, and secondly an originalist. If you are a textualist, you don't care about the intent, and I don't care if the framers of the Constitution had some secret meaning in mind when they adopted its words. I take the words as they were promulgated to the people of the United States, and what is the fairly understood meaning of those words ..."

As I understand it, textualism would be awefully convenient for someone, who, for example, wants to say:

"I don't care what the founding fathers meant by "militia". I currently understand the word 'militia' to mean all citizens because anyone can sign up for the National Guard. Therefore, everyone has a right to own guns."

Where is Craig Smith when you need him for a legal opinion? Aha, here's his view on Hollyingsworth v. Perry:

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
April 1, 2013 at 10:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, I should've used term "originalist" and "textualist" -- in old high school textbooks they used "strict constructionist". Scalia is an "originalist" as EB quotes him, except when he does't want to be one, which may be what Italiansurg meant in his first sentence. Scalia, a devout Catholic, reminds me of fundamentalists who insist on "inerrancy" and textualism in the New Testament...yet everything has to be interpreted as the centuries go by and the old words sometimes make no sense in present contexts.
Craig Smith, law prof, predicts in his bog that " Proposition 8 will be struck down but there will probably be no sweeping declaration that same sex marriage must be adopted in all 50 states. " This may be the slow way samesex marriage is finally made lawful, eventually in all states except the red ones of the old South.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 1, 2013 at 11:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I just don't see how Prop 8 advovates can prove they were injured by te existence of marriage equality during that brief time.

"Your honor the whole time I felt lighter in my loafers"?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2013 at midnight (Suggest removal)

This all stems from the stupidity of religion.

Riceman (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2013 at 8:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

OK, riceman,maybe it all stems from the stupidity of people, OK, but you paint with a very broad brush in your comment. "Religion" and religions...belief systems...spiritual matters..private faith...c'mon, you're generalizing. In the name of spiritual belief and religion an enormous amount of beautiful music, art, etc. has been'd throw all that away?
Perhaps you mean...

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2013 at 9:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Or the stupidity of Peeps:

Perhaps I should have waited until SCOTUS makes their ruling. But the Peeps dioramas are pretty cool and make for excellent social/political commentary.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2013 at 9:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Apparently it's well known that this whole gay marriage thing was started by Will and Grace....

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2013 at 9:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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