California Legislature Violates Separation of Powers, Passes Anti-Prop 8 Resolutions

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This update just came screaming down the wires from Karen England at the Capitol….

California Legislature Violates Separation of Powers, Passes Anti-Prop 8 Resolutions

Moments ago the Assembly and Senate passed resolutions stating their opposition to Proposition 8.

Both houses of the state legislature are trying to go on record opposing Proposition 8 prior to the California Supreme Court‘s hearing of the lawsuits against Proposition 8 on Thursday. In lengthy floor debates, Democrats passed HR 5 (Ammiano) and SR 7 (Leno), which express the opinion of the legislature that Proposition 8 was an unconstitutional revision and must be ruled invalid. However, the legislature’s passage of HR 5 and SR 7 violates the separation of powers doctrine which clearly instructs the legislature to refrain from influencing the judicial process, particularly pending legal cases.

Many Democrats rose to speak out against Proposition 8, even those from districts that clearly voted in favor of Proposition 8. “How arrogant for these lawmakers to express their personal opposition to Proposition 8 and try to persuade the court when their constituents voted in favor of traditional marriage,” stated Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Institute.

Assemblyman Van Tran eloquently pointed out that HR 5 is an attempt to “retroactively disenfranchise the votes of over 7 million voters” who passed Proposition 8. He explained that HR 5 is also an “illegal ex parte communication with the court.” Tran went on to chastise the Democrats for seeking to unduly influence the judicial review of Proposition 8 after the people had voted, and the legislature is politicizing the judicial process just a few days before the hearing.

Republican assemblymen Chuck DeVore, Ted Gaines, Joel Anderson, Steve Knight, Mike Villines and Dan Logue all rose to speak out against HR 5 and affirm the people’s right to pass Proposition 8.

Joel Anderson called on this fellow lawmakers to refrain from interpreting the law in the legislature, leaving that constitutional duty to the judicial branch.

http://www.capitolresource.org

Open Letter Response to Senator Leno and SR7

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Senator Leno,

In a recent letter to one of your constituents, you made a case for the reasoning behind authoring SR7 in direct violation of the public’s trust.  With all due respect, your office has some explaining to do to the Republic of California, for betraying that trust.  Our Constitution, which you are sworn to protect and uphold begins with this opening statement:

“We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution.”

Our Constitution was established by the people of California.  The Legislature was established by the people of California, as was the Governorship and the Judiciary.  This government was entirely established by the people, and as the Constitution itself states:

“All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require.”

Your duty and honor as an elected member of the Legislative body is to act as an agent for the voice of the people.  You are trusted with the responsibility not only to enact law on behalf of the people, but to also respect law duly enacted by the voice of the people, yet you, in connection with your cohorts in the Legislature, have instead continued to seek to thwart the will of the people, while unscrupulously claiming to uphold it.   In your letter, you wrote that proposition 8 was

“…a structural change to the Constitution, rather than an amendment…”

yet you know full well that a revision requires a “substantial change” to the “underlying principles” of the entire constitution.  Applying the historic definition for marriage to all citizens equally constitutes a valid amendment.  Article 2, Section 8 of the state Constitution clearly sets forth the initiative process as a valid means of amending the Constitution. Codifying the definition of marriage via Proposition 8 was a proper amendment to our state Constitution.

Proposition 8, which supports marriage for all legal adults regardless of distinction, grants access to the institution of marriage for all citizens equally, yet you write that Proposition 8 is not an equal law, but seeks to:

“…eliminate the fundamental right of marriage for a particular minority group on the basis of a suspect classification – sexual orientation….”

This twisted and divisive language attempts to inflame raw emotion rather than expose actual truth.  The definition of marriage is applied to all citizens, regardless of race, color or any other division.  Just as same-sex individuals may not call their relationship marriage, so heterosexuals may not engage in polygamous relationships and call them marriage.  There has never been a fundamental right to change the definition of any word, including marriage.

Claiming that proposition 8 violates, rather than upholds “Equal Protection” for all citizens, you wrote that it

…would substantially alter our basic governmental plan by eliminating equal protection as a structural check on the exercise of majority power…by permitting majorities to force groups defined by suspect classifications to fight to protect their fundamental rights under the California Constitution…”

You imply that some minority is under attack, yet you know that Proposition 8’s amendment applies the definition of marriage equally, to heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals and all legal adults.  All groups have equal access to marriage regardless of sexual orientation.

To be clear:  ANY adult in California can be married regardless of sexual orientation. NO adult in California may call a relationship marriage unless it is an exclusive relationship with another adult of the opposite sex who is not a close relative. Defining marriage does not exclude any group of people, it applies equally for all groups.

Equal Protection under the Constitution requires laws be applied regardless of an individual’s characteristics or situation, just as justice is administered blindly.  A modification of the definition of the word marriage to include the actions of one special interest group subverts the idea of equal protection.   Proposition 8 as it is written is actually the perfect example of a law that applies equally to all citizens.

In this case, you have not only failed to uphold your oath to the people and the people’s Constitution, but your actions have gone beyond your jurisdiction to even encourage other branches of the government to act in collusion with you in order to thwart the twice declared will of the people.  You write that your proposed resolution (SR7) would:

“…put the Senate on record that Proposition 8 did not follow the proper process and should be overturned as an invalid revision to the California Constitution. SR 7 would safeguard the integrity of our constitutionally required checks and balances…”

Far from safeguarding the integrity of our system, in a clear violation of the separation of powers, you are asking the Legislature to tell the Judiciary how to rule.  Is attempting to influence the Judiciary “proper process” Senator?  This is not in support of the separation of powers, it is in direct violation of the separation of powers; powers given to you by the very people you seek to forcefully disenfranchise with this bill.

This effort is a slap in the face of millions of California’s citizens.  Democracy is watching, Senator.

Using this issue to inflame divisions in our state for your own political benefit, witnesses to your closing remarks in the SR7 hearing reported that you went so far as to liken your state’s voters to Germans who supported the Nazi regime prior to World War II!

“It is stunning to hear a California senator compare good, decent Californians to Nazis,” stated Karen England, President of Capitol Resource Institute, who was present at the hearing. “How dare an arrogant senator compare the political battle over homosexual marriage to the horrors of Nazi Germany. Senator Leno should apologize to the millions of voters who supported Proposition 8. And he should stop using such inflammatory, hateful language.

Proposition 8 promotes clarity and equality as a valid constitutional amendment, duly voted in according to law and democratic process.  It is not a sleight of hand or twist of semantics aimed at any one group, major or minor.  It is an explicit affirmation of marriage as an institution, equally applicable to all Californians regardless of distinctions.

We as Californians are outraged that our lawmakers continue to muddy the issues with inflammatory and inaccurate dramatics, crafted to enrage, divide, and subvert the people’s will in choosing how they are governed.  We call on you and all other esteemed lawmakers entrusted with governing our great state, to uphold and support the law of the people.

With All Sincerity,

The People of California

Vote Stomp Leno Attempts to Validate Violating the Public Trust

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Senator Leno and his cohorts in the California State Legislature have some explaining to do.  Here’s their first attempt.  This letter was sent to a friend of mine (*name has been changed for privacy):

Hi California Voters*,

I hope this information helps clarify why Senator Leno is moving forward with his resolution SR7.

BACKGROUND

The California Legislature made history in 2005 by passing the first bill in the United States that would allow same-sex couples to obtain civil marriage licenses. The Legislature passed a nearly identical bill again in 2007. Both measures were vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In a May 2008 decision relying heavily on California’s legislative history relating to marriage for same-sex couples, the California Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the fundamental right to marriage and struck down California’s law limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. Following the Court’s landmark decision approximately 18,000 same-sex couples wed in California. The historic “Summer of Love” following the Court’s ruling captured international attention and encouraged other states, such as Connecticut and New York, to follow suit in allowing or recognizing marriage for same-sex couples.

So California Voters, in response to our discussion, the CA Supreme Court already ruled that denying same sex couples the right to marry was unconstitutional. So opponents to this said, “Ok then, I guess we will just change the constitution.” That’s when the initiative process began… a whole different issue…

In February of 2008, out-of-state extremist organizations began circulating petitions to place a discriminatory marriage measure on California’s November ballot. What later qualified as Proposition 8 sought to permanently enshrine discrimination into the California Constitution. Civil rights groups quickly filed suit with the California Supreme Court in the case of Bennett v. Bowen, arguing that Prop 8 should not move forward for a popular vote without going to the Legislature first because it was a revision, or structural change to the Constitution, rather than an amendment. The Court declined to hear the case.

So the court never ruled on the issue of whether it was a revision or amendment because they argued that it was too early to bring the case to the court. The court doesn’t rule on hypothetical laws. If they did, and it didn’t pass, all of that work would be for nothing. So they said, “come back to us if it passes.”

And that’s exactly what we’re doing in the Resolution….

On November 4, 2008 Prop 8 passed by a narrow 52 percent margin. Civil rights organizations again filed suit with the California Supreme Court, asking that it overturn the initiative as an invalid revision. The Court accepted review of the case and could rule as early as June 2009. California Attorney General Jerry Brown recently filed his brief in the litigation on behalf of the state, arguing that he could not defend Prop 8 as it is in direct conflict with the guarantees of liberty and privacy contained in the Constitution.

So the court kept their promise, and they will rule on whether it is a revision or amendment in June.

PROPOSITION 8 WAS AN IMPROPER REVISION

Article XVIII of the California Constitution provides that while an amendment to the Constitution can be accomplished through the initiative process, a revision must originate in the Legislature and must be approved by a two-thirds vote before being submitted to the electorate.

In addition, Article III of the California Constitution establishes separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government and a system of checks and balances. Under Article III, the courts have the ultimate authority to interpret and enforce the principle of equal protection, and the Legislature has a crucial deliberative role in any proposed revision of our Constitution.

Proposition 8 seeks to eliminate the fundamental right of marriage for a particular minority group on the basis of a suspect classification – sexual orientation – while permitting the majority to retain that fundamental right. The initiative would substantially alter our basic governmental plan by eliminating equal protection as a structural check on the exercise of majority power and by permitting majorities to force groups defined by suspect classifications to fight to protect their fundamental rights under the California Constitution at every election. As such, Proposition 8 is an improper revision, sidestepping the constitutionally required rigors of the legislative process and depriving the Legislature of its role to examine and debate such a significant change to the principles and structure that underlie the California Constitution.

WHAT THIS RESOLUTION WOULD DO

Senate Resolution 7 would specify that significant revisions to the Constitution mandate distinct procedures and require a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature before going to the voters. It would put the Senate on record that Proposition 8 did not follow the proper process and should be overturned as an invalid revision to the California Constitution. SR 7 would safeguard the integrity of our constitutionally required checks and balances and help to ensure that minority rights are not stripped away at the ballot box by a simple vote of the majority.

Our Resolution does not say how the Court should rule, it just says that it is the opinion of the legislature that their authority to vote by 2/3 of each house was denied. We agree that you can revise the constitution, you just have to do it in the proper way. The process that everyone else has had to follow. If voters feel so strongly about this, they shouldn’t have a problem getting their representative to support this.

I hope this information helps,

(staffer)

Somehow just seeing all that twisted rhetoric pinned down to one sheet of paper just makes me want to get out my red pen.  Don’t you agree?  Ok, so that is their argument, let’s poke some holes in it.  Open Thread!  Let the rebuttals begin!

—Beetle Blogger

SR7 Passes Committee on 3-2 Party Line Vote

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Proposition 8 Under Attack by California Legislators

The California Senate Judiciary Committee passed SR 7 this afternoon, expressing their opposition to Proposition 8’s lawful passage. Following the Assembly Judiciary Committee’s passage of the identical HR 5 last Tuesday, the senate committee approved SR 7 on a party line vote of 3-2.

“This is another slap in the face of millions of California citizens,” stated Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Family Impact. “The legislature completely disregards the will of the people by calling on the state supreme court to overturn Proposition 8.” England testified against SR 7 in the committee hearing this afternoon. “As I shared with the committee members, Proposition 8 is a valid amendment to the state constitution. To ignore the overwhelming support of citizens for traditional marriage proves just how out of touch lawmakers are with average citizens.”

Testifying with Karen England was an affiliate attorney from Pacific Justice Institute. On short notice, the legal organization was able to send their attorney who provided valuable testimony on the legality of Proposition 8.

Several organizations testified in favor of the resolution, including Alice Huffman, of the NAACP. Huffman likened the homosexual marriage issue to when the courts had “liberated” her people from suppression of the majority white race. “African Americans should be appalled that their race is being used to push a radical social agenda,” stated England. “We urge African Americans to contact the NAACP and find out why they have inserted themselves into the same-sex marriage debate.” Also testifying for the resolution was the ACLU, a professor from Loyola Marymont Law School, the California Nursing Association, Planned Parenthood, and a representative from Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office.

Committee member Senator Tom Harman did a wonderful job pointing out the hypocrisy of SR 7 supporters in calling on the Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8. He questioned author Mark Leno about whether it violated the separation of powers to tell the court to rule the way the legislature encourages them to. Senator Dean Florez, who had historically supported traditional marriage in floor votes changed his position and voted in favor of the resolution. “Constituents in Senator Florez’s district need to call his office and find out why he has flip-flopped on this crucial issue,” commented England.

SR 7 supporters filled the committee room and England included in her comments to the committee that opponents were not given adequate notice to alert our side. Committee member Senator Mimi Walters responded that even though they weren’t present, her office’s phones have been ringing off the hook with calls from opponents to SR 7.

In his closing remarks to the committee, Senator Leno likened voters for Proposition 8 to Germans who supported the Nazi regime prior to World War II. “It is stunning to hear a California senator compare good, decent Californians to Nazis,” stated England. “How dare an arrogant senator compare the political battle over homosexual marriage to the horrors of Nazi Germany. Senator Leno should apologize to the millions of voters who supported Proposition 8. And he should stop using such inflammatory, hateful language.

“Californians should be outraged that their lawmakers continue to subvert our ability to pass laws via the initiative process. HR 5 and SR 7 are just the latest attempts to undermine the democratic process. It is lawmakers, not Proposition 8 supporters, who are violating the constitution with their political antics in these committee hearings.”

ACTION ITEMS:

It’s not too late!  The full vote will be in the next few days, possibly tomorrow! Call or Email Your representatives!  Find your reps here:

http://capwiz.com/capitolresource/directory/statedir.tt?state=CA&lvl=state

Contact Senator Florez and ask him why he wants the Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8.
Dean Florez
Phone: 916 651 4016
Fax: 916 327 5989

Contact Alice Huffman about the NAACP’s active support on SR 7 and HR 5
Alice Huffman
916-498-1895

This information is from the Capitol Resource Institute who attended the SR7 hearing.

SR7 Committee Vote Today!

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SR 7 encourages the State Supreme Court to overturn the vote of the people and reinstitute their prior ruling that legalized homosexual marriages. For more information go here

CONTACT MEMBERS OF THE
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE TODAY!!

Ask them to VOTE NO on SR 7!!
Vote Can Happen Anytime After 1:00 pm on February 24, 2009!!

Senator’s Name Phone Email Address
Ellen Corbett, Chair (D) 916 651-4010 senator.corbett@senate.ca.gov
Tom Harman, Vice Chair (R) 916 651-4035 senator.harman@senate.ca.gov
Dean Florez (D) 916 651-4016 senator.florez@senate.ca.gov
Mark Leno (D) 916 651-4003 senator.leno@senate.ca.gov
Mimi Walters (R) 916 651-4033 senator.walters@senate.ca.gov

For Senate Judiciary Committee Members Websites and information please go to:
http://www.sen.ca.gov/ftp/sen/committee/STANDING/JUDICIARY/_home1/PROFILE.HTM

Vote No on SR7 and HR5!

When you call and speak with your representatives, here are some points from Capitol Resource Institute that can be used to challenge some of the confusion that exists out there about Proposition 8:

“Prop 8 Revises, Rather than Amends, the Constitution?”

• A revision requires a “substantial change” to the “underlying principles” of the entire constitution. Applying the historic definition for marriage to all citizens equally constitutes a valid amendment.  Article 2, Section 8 of the state Constitution clearly sets forth the initiative process as a valid means of amending the Constitution. Codifying the definition of marriage via Proposition 8 was a proper amendment to the state Constitution.

“Undermines Equal Protection?”

• Equal Protection under the Constitution requires laws be applied regardless of an individual’s characteristics or situation, just as justice is administered blindly. Proposition 8’s amendment applies the definition of marriage equally, to heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals and all legal adults. Proposition 8 is actually the perfect example of a law that applies equally to all citizens.

“Eliminates Fundamental Rights?”

• Proposition 8 does not eliminate a fundamental right for only minority groups. It places the restrictions of marriage on all citizens equally. Just as same-sex individuals may not marry, so heterosexuals may not engage in polygamous relationships. There is also no fundamental right to marriage. That “right” was created by the California Supreme Court when it overturned Proposition 22.

“Violates Separation of Powers Doctrine?”

• Proposition 8 and the initiative process do not “strip the courts” of their constitutional function. In fact, Proposition 8 was a direct response to the California Supreme Court’s violation of the separation of powers doctrine. By striking down a law passed via the constitutional initiative process, the Court overstepped its authority and usurped the powers of the legislative branch and the constitutional initiative process.

Questions to ask:

1. The resolution emphasizes the importance of the separation of powers doctrine, but doesn’t this resolution violate the doctrine by directing the judicial branch’s decisions?

2. How does Proposition 8 violate Equal Protection when it applies equally to all citizens?

3. Why is the legislature spending money on this issue when we are in a budget crisis? We are using taxpayer dollars to overturn an initiative they just passed.

4. Aren’t we defying the separation of powers by even debating this issue when the court will be hearing it next month?


California Rally This Tuesday!

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Rally in Sacramento!  Protect the Vote!

The Digital Network Army, United Families International and Capital Resource Institute are joining forces this Tuesday to rally for families at the Capitol Building in Sacramento.  Both state houses are drafting official resolutions condemning the passage of Proposition 8 and urging the Supreme Court to overturn the will of the people AGAIN.

Two statewide elections with the majority voices of millions were not loud enough to turn the heads of our representatives in Sacramento, so we’re bringing the voice of the people to Sacramento.  Come Rally with us for Marriage and Families!  Help remind the Senators and Assemblymen that we are watching…because there’s nothing more important to our nation than its families.

Protect Marriage!  Protect Families!  Protect Democracy!

If our representatives are going to turn their backs on the people who voted for them, let them do it to our faces in the light of the cameras, not in a silent corner.

—Beetle Blogger

Here is the latest update from the DNA:

Team,

Ok, so the most recent word is that the opposition is going to be busing people in from San Francisco for the hearings so seating at the actual hearing may be limited, come early. If you have kids, bring water bottles and a few snacks, comfortable shoes. Security is tight there, so remember, no pocket knives etc.

If we have more people come to the hearing than we can fit in the room, we’ll hold a concurrent rally outside the capitol building with a petition signing.  No body will be wasted!  Kids and families are welcome!  Come and be heard!  Wear your yellow shirt if you like!  If it rains, bring an umbrella, we’ll rally in the hallways!

Proposition 8 Hearings will be held in these rooms:

HR 5
Tuesday, February 17
10:30am
State Capitol
Room 4202

SR 7
Tuesday, February 17
12:30pm
State Capitol
Room 4203

More Information Here

California Prop 8 Rally at the Capital!

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Go!  Rally!  Bring Your Signs and Spread the Word!

This resolution would put the Assembly on record as supporting the repeal of Proposition 8 and declaring that the initiative was an improper revision to the California Constitution. -Equality California Website

Dear California Supporters of the Family,

State Assembly and Senate Considering Resolution Encouraging State Supreme Court to Overturn Prop 8!!!

SR7 and HR5

On Tuesday, February 17th at 10:30 am, The Assembly Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing followed at 12:30 pm by a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Proposition 8. The committees will be considering crafting a joint resolution encouraging the California State Supreme Court to overturn Prop 8. By issuing the resolution the Assembly will officially express its opposition to Proposition 8, calling for its repeal, and stating that it was an “improper revision” to the state constitution.

Read HR5 and Read SR7

Passing these resolutions flies in the face of the will of the voters.  Prop 8, was passed by a clear majority of California voters in November 2008. Fifty-two percent of California voters stood up to protect the family, which is the lynch pin of civilization. William Glaston, a former policy advisor to President Clinton, is quoted in the UFI Marriage Advantage Family Guide. He states, “Marriage is an important social good, associated with an impressively broad array of positive outcomes for children and adults alike….Whether American society succeeds or fails in building a healthy marriage culture is clearly a matter of legitimate public concern.”

Don’t let the Assembly take your vote away. Join us in protecting marriage, children and the future of family and our society.

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What You Can Do

DOT.jpg Attend the hearing. It is taking place Tuesday, February 17th at the state capitol in Sacramento. The Assembly hearing will be in room 4202 at 10:30 am. The Senate hearing will be in room 4203 at 12:30pm. We encourage you to make the trip. By attending you will send a visible signal to the committee members in support of the family. To get driving directions and parking information follow the click on the links below:

For directions
For parking information

DOT.jpg Call the members of the committees and fax letters asking them to vote no on HR5 and SR7
Assembly Judiciary Committee-Vote NO on HR5

Assembly Judiciary Committee-Vote NO on HR5

Committee Members District Phone E-mail

Dem-42 (916) 319-2042 Assemblymember.Feuer@assembly.ca.gov

Rep-68 (916) 319-2068 Assemblymember.tran@assembly.ca.gov

Dem-41 (916) 319-2041 Assemblymember.Brownley@assembly.ca.gov

Dem-7 (916) 319-2007 Assemblymember.Evans@assembly.ca.gov

Dem-9 (916) 319-2009 Assemblymember.jones@assembly.ca.gov

Rep-36 (916) 319-2036 Assemblymember.Knight@assembly.ca.gov

Dem-43 (916) 319-2043 Assemblymember.Krekorian@assembly.ca.gov

Dem-53 (916) 319-2053 Assemblymember.Lieu@assembly.ca.gov

Dem-27 (916) 319-2027 Assemblymember.Monning@assembly.ca.gov

Rep-2 (916) 319-2002 Assemblymember.Nielsen@assembly.ca.gov

Senate Judiciary Committee-Vote NO on SR7

Ellen Corbett
Phone: 916 651 4010
Fax: 916 327 2433

Dean Florez
Phone: 916 651 4016
Fax: 916 327 5989

Tom Harman
Phone: 916 651 4035
Fax: 916 445 9263

Mark Leno
Phone: 916 651 4003

Mimi Walters
Phone: 916 651 4033
Fax: 916 445 9754

Please forward this to your friends and family members. We believe that through a grassroots movement, we can secure a safe future for families in our state.

United Families California

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