Sunday, March 31, 2013

Gay Marriage legal in California by late fall my prediction

Local opinion on the Prop 8 & DOMA cases. Gay Central Valley welcomes all Valley Voices to the table. If you'd like to give us your opinion on how this will all go down, please email us at

By Esmeralda del Valle (aka Reynaldo Pulido Esq.)

By now if you have not heard about the two cases affecting gay marriage which were heard by the SCOTUS then you have no facebook and have lived under a rock.  Let’s cut to the chase, here are my predictions (f you want to know my reasons then read the rest of the column):

Prop 8:  the court will be very conservative the decision will have the effect of allow gay marriages in California only.

DOMA:  The Supreme Court will find that Federal Government has no legal basis to make a distinction between gay and hetero marriages and thus invalidate the part of the law that forbids federal government to recognize gay marriages.

What the court will NOT do to find that there is a fundamental right that protects gay marriages and thus all states must recognize or adopt gay marriage.

These results may not be what we are asking for however they are huge steps toward full recognition. 

Traditionally (rooted in constitutional law) the federal government has allowed States to dictate laws in certain areas. One such example is marriage.  That is why it is possible that each state has slightly different marriage laws, for example the way a divorce is conducted.  With this in mind I believe that DOMA will be invalidated.  The reasoning goes like this: Massachusetts has dully enacted law that defines marriage as including same sex couples therefore federal government must respect that states right to do so and failure to recognize such marriages for purposes of federal law would undermine the states right to define marriage.  This is very likely to be the reason why DOMA will go down in history as unconstitutional because it violates each states right to define marriage as they wish.

The more difficult law to predict is Proposition 8.  Not only is it difficult to predict how the justices will decide but also what rationale they will use.  But I am still predicting that the result will be that gay marriages will be available in California come this fall.

My prediction though is that the court will decide that it is not proper for SCOTUS to decide on this case.  This would be a technical maneuver based on procedural rules.  Simply put the Court may say that those defending the law did not have a right to do so and therefore it is not proper for them to hear the case.  If they make such a ruling then the decision of the last court (Ninth Circuit) will stand.  That court found that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional as it affected gay people living in California only.  So that gives us the result I mentioned already.

Now the even more difficult prediction of how each justice is going to vote. Scalia, Alito and Thomas will both vote against anything that would allow gay marriage in any form.  Not because of legal reasoning but because they have indicated they are very much against gay marriage even before the hearings were held.  Then there is the obvious for gay marriage votes Sotomayor, Kagan and Kingsburg and Bryer.  Now remember any decision requires at least five votes.  Therefore the deciding justices will be the swing votes of Roberts and Kennedy.

Kennedy has been cast as the consistent swing vote, the deciding vote in recent years.  He seems more against DOMA than Proposition 8.  That is why it is easier to predict DOMA.  But since DOMA suffers from one huge flaw, that it intrudes on States right to determine laws of marriage it is very possible that Chief Justice Roberts will also strike down DOMA.  Traditionally conservative justices, such as Roberts, have gone to great lengths to protect states from federal government intruding.  It is odd that in the case of DOMA the conservative justices are okay with states being dictated by federal law.  But I think that Roberts is smart enough to know that this is his legacy, after all he is the chief justice and history is being written as we speak.  He sees the writing on the wall and will not want to be cast as falling on the wrong side of history.  DOMA will likely go down 6 to 3. 

Proposition 8 is harder to predict.  Again the ultra conservative and ultra liberal will vote the same.  Again leaving Kennedy and Roberts to decide.  I think the vote will be whether or not SCOTUS should hear the case or not.  It will not be weather proposition 8 was properly passed or not or whether it violates gay citizens constitutional rights. In that case it is conceivable that Justice Roberts will like to appease the conservatives and say that it is proper for the court to hear.  Kennedy on the other hand will say that it is not. Prop 8 will go down on a 5 to 4 vote.

Now let’s wait until sometime this summer to see how accurate my predictions are. 

EVENT: Community Spring Fling THIS SATURDAY

Friday, March 29, 2013

Merced Sun Star on Prop 8

Marissa Chavez is with Merced Full Spectrum, a division of Gay Central Valley...
Courtesy Merced Sun Star

Although the Supreme Court hearings about same-sex marriage are thousands of miles away, the issue hits close to home for Merced resident Swana Swanson, 37. She said "I do" to the woman who is now her wife in 2008, right before Proposition 8 passed in California.

The stay-at-home mom is the only person in her circle of friends married to a same-sex partner, and it's something she doesn't take for granted.
"I definitely feel that we were lucky, because if we hadn't done it when we did, it would have never happened," she said. 

It's something Swanson said she wants for all her family and friends.
"It enables us to get health benefits together and make decisions for each other, a lot of things our other friends aren't able to do," she said. "It's just a right humans should have, regardless."

That issue and others are being considered by the court, which heard oral arguments this week regarding the 1996 law that denies federal benefits to same-sex couples as well as California's ban on same-sex marriage.
Marissa Chavez, 23, is the president of Merced Full Spectrum, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community group, that meets on the first and third Saturday each month at Coffee Bandits.

Chavez said the time has come for Merced to support marriage equality.
"We're a growing community with the UC now, and the LGBT (community) is growing exponentially in Merced," she said. "More people are in favor of same-sex marriages as opposed to five years ago."

The Merced native said she returned home after going away to college in Davis, where education and resources for the LGBT community were more widely available.

Chavez said many Mercedians aren't able to hold their same-sex partner's hand in public because of the looks they receive. "One of the reasons I came back to Merced was to create a positive change," she said.

Al Schaap, pastor at Gateway Community Church, said traditional marriages aren't perfect, but the word "marriage" is clearly defined by the Bible.

"I believe that marriage is a term and institution set up by God for one man and one woman for life," Schaap said. "In the Bible, it says homosexuality is not the way God created us to function."

Schaap said he supports giving same-sex couples the benefits associated with marriage. "I'm not saying that they shouldn't have governmental laws that give civil unions the same benefits as marriage," he noted.

Gateway Community Church is running a series of messages on sexuality called "Pure Sex" each Sunday in April. Schaap said anyone is welcome to attend.
Schaap said the same-sex debate in Merced has often turned disrespectful, and apologizes for that.

"The conversations have been a lot of hollering and hate from both sides," he said. "That's not OK, but I can only apologize for my side."
Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or

Read more here:

EVENT: Film at UU Church

Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno
2672 E. Alluvial Avenue (between Chestnut and Willow)
Fresno, CA 93720
Admission Free.  Wheelchair Accessible.
Please join us tomorrow night for "The Pruitt-Igoe Myth:  An Urban History," last film in the Winter Film Series.  It chronicles the rise, and literal fall, of Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis, MO, America's poster-child for failed public housing projects, and the transformation of the American city in the decades after World War II.  At the film's center is an analysis of the massive impact of the national urban renewal program of the 1950s and 1960s which prompted the process of mass urbanization and emptied American cities of their residents, businesses and industries, leaving behind the poor - segregated by class and race.
The Pruitt-Igoe experiment began as a housing marvel.  Two decades later it ended in rubble.  But what happened to those caught in between?  Their gripping stories of survival, adaptation and success are at the emotional heart of the film.  Punitive public welfare policies and frustrating interactions with a paternalistic and cash-strapped Housing Authority helped to create a downward spiral of vacancy, vandalism, and crime.  But, it also led to resident protest and action, such as the 1969 Rent Strike, the first in the history of public housing.  The failure of Pruitt-Igoe has been used to attack public assistance programs and stigmatize public housing residents.  This documentary seeks to set the historical record straight, examine the interests involved in Pruitt-Igoe's creation, re-evaluate the rumors and the stigma, and to implode the myth.
We hope you will join us tomorrow night (for cookies) and a discussion of, and comparison to, our own so-called downtown Fresno revitalization. 
Glenda and David Roberts (559-291-1590)
Social Justice Coordinating Committee
Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bulldog Pride Fund Receives ADDY Award

The Bulldog Pride Fund was presented a Gold Award at the Fresno Advertising Federation’s annual ADDY Awards held on March 22nd.

This is the industry’s largest competition for creative excellence and provides recognition to the talent and expertise of the advertising, marketing, public relations and commercial art community.

“We’re so pleased to have earned our first ADDY Award, and it’s a Gold!” exclaimed Peter Robertson, founder of the Bulldog Pride Fund. “It’s a wonderful testament to our commitment to excellence, as well as our altruistic passion to provide scholarships to students attending Fresno State.”

The Gold Award was for “California Here I Come!” in the special events invitation category. The event was held in July 2012 in conjunction with the Fresno State Alumni Association.

Peter Robertson, BA '92, MA '95, MBA '05
Director, Alumni Marketing & Engagement
Legacy Member/Donor, Fresno State Alumni Association
California State University, Fresno
Smittcamp Alumni House
2625 E Matoian Way SH124
Fresno, CA 93740-8000
Direct: 559.278.4669
Fax: 559.278.6790

Hanford Sentinel Covers Hanford Rally

Courtesy The Hanford Sentinel
HANFORD — Local advocate Melissa Ballard paid close attention to her television and her computer all day as the Supreme Court dove into a historic debate on gay rights Tuesday.
“I keep clicking the ‘refresh’ button on my Internet browser,” Ballard said. “I’m so anxious right now.”

Ballard is the president of Hanford Rainbow Pride and co-division leader of Gay Hanford. She, her partner and several friends gathered Tuesday afternoon to make posters and prepare for a marriage equality rally they are holding today in downtown Hanford at 5:30 p.m.
The Supreme Court’s focus was on whether or not California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay marriages, was constitutional. But the justices signaled they may not be ready for a major national ruling on whether America’s gays and lesbians have a right to marry.

The court’s first major examination of gay rights in 10 years will continue today, when the justices will consider the federal law known as the Defense of Marriage Act that prevents legally married gay couples from receiving a range of benefits afforded straight married people.

The issue before the court on Tuesday was more fundamental: Does the Constitution require that people be allowed to marry whom they choose, regardless of either partner’s gender?

Read More HERE

EVENT: LGBT Fundraiser @The Circle on Saturday

Pediatrics Group Backs Gay Marriage

The American Academy of Pediatrics declared its support for same-sex marriage for the first time on Thursday, saying that allowing gay and lesbian parents to marry if they so choose is in the best interests of their children.

The academy’s new policy statement says same-sex marriage helps guarantee rights, benefits and long-term security for children, while acknowledging that it does not now ensure access to federal benefits. When marriage is not an option, the academy said, children should not be deprived of foster care or adoption by single parents or couples, whatever their sexual orientation. 

The academy’s review of scientific literature began more than four years ago, and the result is a 10-page report with 60 citations. 

“If the studies are different in their design and sample but the results continue to be similar, that gives scientists and consumers more faith in the result,” said Dr. Ellen Perrin, a co-author of the new policy and a professor of pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine. 

Other scientists called the evidence lackluster and said the academy’s endorsement was premature. Loren Marks, an associate professor of child and family studies at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, said there was not enough national data to support the pediatric association’s position on same-sex marriage. “National policy should be informed by nationally representative data,” he said. “We are moving in the direction of higher-quality national data, but it’s slow.” 

Read More HERE