aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
I got that wrong!
I really expected him to sign it:
With his approval ratings tumbling, and with an embarrassing new report on his ties to special interests hitting newsstands, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has made what promises to be a pivotal decision in his nascent political career. On Wednesday evening Schwarzenegger announced that he will veto a measure approved by the state Legislature that would have legalized gay marriage.
Gubernatorial spokeswoman Margita Thompson said the governor still believes that gay couples are entitled to equal protection under the law from discrimination.
Why that’s almost Bloombergesque.
Reporting from NOLA
Romenesko on the New York Observer has this:
People in New Orleans complained that the thing they needed most was for someone to come in with a bullhorn and tell everyone what was going on. “In 10 days of devastation following the hurricane, the Times-Picayune was as close as they would get,” writes Gabriel Sherman. Advance.net exec Steven Newhouse tells him: “For me, at a time when it’s fashionable to badmouth journalists, [the coverage of Katrina] shows the amazing dedication and craft of the people at the Times-Picayune and many other newspapers. I don’t want to comment on the government [but] to say that a lot of people didn’t realize what was happening, they were just not watching the stories being put out.”
Los Angeles Times reporter Scott Gold says there was no conscious effort to transmit anything but the news out of New Orleans. “I saw no need to dress it up or approach it with any point of view, or to make it sound any more dire or tragic than it was. This is what it was.” NYT reporter Shaila Dewan says: “Theproblem was there was such a disconnect with what we were seeing and what we were hearing from local officials. You always have tension when youre a reporter about how much weight to give an officials viewpoint. In this case, it was exacerbated by the disconnect. You could walk out and count five dead bodies, and the officials were saying there were 60 dead bodies in the county, and you said, ‘No way, I just saw five dead bodies myself.’”
Schwarzenegger’s bizarre position explained
Schwarzenegger’s position here would seem quite bizarre, turning Republican orthodoxy on its head. Why would such a fundamental public policy decision be the role of the courts rather than those elected to make public policy?
Presumably, he’s simply arguing that the law is unconstitutional because of Proposition 22. This measure passed overwhelmingly in 2000, adding “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” to the books. Technically, it did not ban gay marriage because it was already banned: “Marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman.” Prop 22 was aimed at ensuring that homosexual marriages performed in other states would not be recognized.
However, both these provisions are merely part of the Family Code rather than the state Constitution. As Vikram Amar notes, this is a rather subtle distinction in this case because state referendums can not be overturned by the legislature. Indeed, the process for passing a Proposition that amends the constitution and one that doesn’t is virtually identical. Still, if a simple statute would be held to violate the Equal Protection clause, it’s doubtful that a statewide referendum would.
Of course, Prop 22 could be put on the ballot again in the form of a constitutional amendment which, if passed, would by definition be perfectly constitutional.
Could this process lead to an an outcome like in MA, where (I expect) the citizenry had time to acclimate and see the benign result so that by the time it’s back on the ballot it will be defeated?
Felony charges quietly dropped for Kutztown 13
Now that’s more like it:
The case against the “Kutztown 13” - a group of Pennsylvania high school students charged with felonies for tinkering with their school-issued laptop computers - seems to be ending mostly with a whimper.
In meetings with students over the last several days, the Berks County juvenile probation office has quietly offered the students a deal in which all charges would be dropped in exchange for 15 hours of community service, a letter of apology, a class on personal responsibility and a few months of probation.
I’m glad for the outcome, but still believe laws like Pennsylvania’s are too broad and thus ripe for abuse.