Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-01-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Supreme Court's second move alarms gay activists
News Update, Jan. 18, 2010
by Lisa Keen, Keen News Service
2010-01-13

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


In its second surprise move in a week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced Jan. 15 it would review another narrow dispute involving anti-gay activists' alleged fear of harassment over their public opposition to legal recognition for same-sex relationships.

The court's actions—because they are unusual involvements in two cases regarding same-sex relationships— have gay legal activists worried.

"With the first decision, it might have looked like it was mostly driven by justices who are just adamantly opposed to cameras in the courtroom," said Jenny Pizer, head of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund's National Marriage Project. "But with the second decision, it goes from being worrisome to alarming. Both decisions are based on quite absurd arguments" that the anti-gay activists are being "terribly persecuted by an angry mob, and that's just ridiculous."

The latest case, Doe v. Reed, stems from the controversy over a new law that recognizes domestic partnerships in Washington state. The legislature passed, and the voters—through Referendum 71—ratified that new law last year. But a lingering side issue in matter has been whether citizens who signed the petitions that forced the new law onto the ballot last November can block those petitions—normally, a part of the public record— from public view.

Those who want to keep the petitions secret say they are asking for this special dispensation because they fear that people who disagree with them will harass them for having taken the position that they did. Protect Marriage Washington, the group that sought, unsuccessfully, to overturn the domestic partnership law, filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to seal the petitions from public scrutiny. A federal judge issued a temporary order stopping release of the signatures, pending a final decision, and the appeals of that decision are now before the high court.

The U.S. Supreme Court's announcement that it would intervene in that dispute comes just two days after the Supreme Court took the unusual move of intervening in a procedural dispute surrounding California's Proposition 8. Proponents of that November 2008 initiative, which was successful in banning legal recognition for same-sex relationships, claim they are opposed to making the trial proceedings available for even a very limited amount of public exposure because they fear harassment from people who disagree with them.

In Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 Jan. 13 to overturn lower-court decisions from the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Those decisions would have allowed airing of the Prop 8 trial on closed circuit television in several federal courthouses around the country and for delayed posting on YouTube.

In a 17-page opinion, to which no justice's name was attached as author, the majority indicated its decision was based—not on the merits of whether this trial should be made available for public viewing, but rather because—"it appears the courts below did not follow the appropriate procedures set forth in federal law before changing their rules to allow such broadcasting."

Nevertheless, the majority recounts that Prop 8 "advocates claim that they have been subject to harassment as a result of public disclosure of their support," including death threats and boycotts. And it stated that proponents of Prop 8 "have demonstrated that irreparable harm would likely result from the District Court's actions" to make the proceedings viewable by the public.

Specifically, the majority suggested that U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker, who is presiding over the Prop 8 trial Perry v. Schwarzenegger, allowed only five business days for public comment on his plan to make the proceedings public, whereas "administrative agencies…usually" provide 30 days or more.

"There are qualitative differences between [ pro-Prop 8 witnesses ] making public appearances regarding an issue and having one's testimony broadcast throughout the country," stated the majority opinion. "...It is difficult to demonstrate or analyze whether a witness would have testified differently if his or her testimony had not been broadcast."

Dissenting from that decision were Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and the court's newest justice, Sonia Sotomayor. Breyer, writing a 10-page dissent for the minority, called the majority's decision "unusual" and said there was no reason for the high court to intervene on this issue. The dissent also noted that the majority was doing "harm to the public interest" by interfering with public's right to have access to the trial proceedings.

The high court's decision to review the Washington State battle, coupled with last week's decision barring the public viewing of the Proposition 8 trial, is causing some anxiety among gay civil rights advocates.

The Perry case vote was 5-4; it required at least four justices to take Doe v. Reed, and it can be safely assumed that those four have reason to question the decision of the lower courts.

Lambda's Pizer called the Supreme Court's involvement in "extra-procedural micro meddling" over courtroom cameras and its decision to hear the Referendum 71 petitions dispute makes it "hard not to draw a bigger, bleaker conclusion" about the high court's motives. In both cases, she said, anti-gay activists are making "absurd claims" in order to secure "special protection" from the government.

"Their claims would be comical," said Pizer, "if they weren't falling on such distressingly receptive high court ears."

©2010 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Judge in Schock trial recuses herself 2017-01-22
Gay man attacked in Edgewater 2017-01-22
Anti-LGBT lawyer suspended for misogynist comments 2017-01-20
Chicago's Women's March announces new rally site and march route 2017-01-19
175 mayors from 42 states launch coalition for LGBT protections 2017-01-18
EEOC report on charges of work discrimination details LGBT cases 2017-01-18
No Human is Illegal, Take These Precautions Now 2017-01-18
Activists want to quash Uptown TIF subsidy 2017-01-18
Torres to work with Howard Brown 2017-01-18
Poll: 10M LGBTQs reside in U.S. 2017-01-18
Judge: Secular celebrants can officiate marriages 2017-01-18
President Obama Grants Commutation to Chelsea Manning 2017-01-17
Wife of Orlando shooter arrested 2017-01-16
Berlin washroom vandalized 2017-01-15
Equality California urges Congress to preserve the Affordable Care Act 2017-01-13
156 LGBT elected officials call on Pres-elect to advance LGBT equality 2017-01-13
Next Sec. of Defense indicates he will not change open LGBT military service 2017-01-11
LGBT military group calls on Mattis to express support for all service members 2017-01-11
Attack on Affordable Care Act: Lambda Legal urges action to save lives 2017-01-11
NUNN ON ONE: TV Chicago native Law Roach on judging 'Next Top Model' 2017-01-10
ACLU acts to block court order permitting health care discrimination 2017-01-10
Two-spirit transgender woman killed in Sioux Falls, South Dakota 2017-01-09
Intimate partner violence homicide in Newport News, Virginia 2017-01-06
Fundraiser to benefit Chicago LGBT Asylum Support partners 2017-01-06
Mesha Caldwell, transgender woman of color, killed in Mississippi 2017-01-06
CPD seeks help in locating kidnap victim 2017-01-05
Thousand Waves to Offer Free Workshop on Self-Defense, Bystander Intervention 2017-01-04
Timber Creek owners file court appeal 2017-01-04
Trans activist detained by ICE 2017-01-04
Emanuel in group for immigrant protections 2017-01-04
Know Your Rights: Ensuring Equality for LGBTQ Employees 2016-12-28
New tracking tool for religious bills launched 2016-12-28
HB2 repeal fails 2016-12-28
National roundup: Pulse lawsuit, lesbian judge removed, artists against Ivanka 2016-12-27
Looking back: National news 2016-12-26
Judge issues decision in Open Meetings suit 2016-12-23
Community, labor, faith leaders to join in January 14 mobilization for resistance 2016-12-22
Groups Condemn North Carolina Lawmakers' Failure to Repeal H.B. 2 2016-12-21
Report looks at LGBT social-justice groups 2016-12-21
Schock pleads not guilty to charges 2016-12-21
 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.