Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Closing arguments in Prop 8 trial set for mid June

U.S. District Court  Judge Vaughn Walker (pictured at left) will hear closing arguments in the federal Prop 8 trial during the heart of gay Pride month.

Wednesday, April 28 Walker set June 16, which falls on a Wednesday, as the date to hear closing arguments in the case, though the date could change if there is a conflict with the schedules of either the judge or attorneys involved in the case.

The case has been in suspended animation since January 27, when trial testimony ended, as the two sides have fought over the release of documents connected to the campaigns waged in 2008 over Proposition 8. Voters passed the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in California in the fall of 2008.

Lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies then filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of two same-sex couples seeking to strike down Prop 8, arguing it is in violation of their rights under the U.S. Constitution. The proponents of Prop 8, known as, intervened in the case after both Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown refused to defend the anti-gay measure in court.

Following the end of the two and a half week trial this winter, the Prop 8 proponents sought to admit into evidence internal documents from the No on 8 campaign. The pro-gay groups in turn fought the court’s ruling to turn over their campaign emails and other documents, and Walker had threatened to find them in contempt if they failed to do so by this morning.

Late Tuesday afternoon the No on 8 campaign groups announced they had won a clarification to the initial ruling and would release all “non attorney-client privileged” documents. The announcement cleared the way for Walker to schedule the closing arguments.

— Matthew S. Bajko, April 28, 2010 @ 12:46 pm PST
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Assembly passes resolution on tax equity for domestic partners

Just one week after Californians filed their state taxes, the California State Assembly approved a joint resolution that urges the IRS to change a policy that requires many same-sex couples to file two federal tax returns and pay unfairly high taxes.

That policy is the result of the federal government not recognizing how California applies its community property laws to same-sex couples.

Assembly Joint Resolution 29 passed with bipartisan support in a vote of 59-5. The measure was authored by Assembly member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles, pictured at right) and sponsored by LGBT lobbying group Equality California.

“Today, Democrats and Republicans joined together to demand that the federal government stop its current policy discriminating against same-sex couples when it comes to taxes,” said Geoff Kors, EQCA’s executive director, in statement announcing the vote today [Thursday, April 22]. “It is time for the federal government to work together to make a real difference in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples.”

In February 2006, the IRS issued a memorandum stating that California registered domestic partners could not claim a community property interest in their income for federal income tax purposes, according to EQCA.

Instead, California registered domestic partners must report their incomes separately to the federal government.

However, California statutes and case law confirm that registered domestic partners and married same-sex couples whose marriages are valid under California law have the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual married couples, including rights related to community property, the lobbying group said.

The state treats income of registered domestic partners and married couples as community property.

“Since federal case law holds that states, not the federal government, determine the characteristics of property ownership, the IRS should defer to California law in this instance,” EQCA’s statement said.

“The IRS’s refusal to accept how California treats same-sex couples’ property means these couples suffer unequal tax treatment,” Feuer said in the statement. “Who else has to file two federal tax returns, let alone pay unfairly high taxes – all because the IRS flouts settled constitutional rules? It’s long past time for the IRS to respect California law and honor the rights of California’s same-sex couples.”

The joint resolution seeks tax equity for California resident same-sex couples who have community property arising from their status as registered domestic partners or from their marriages.

AJR 29 will now be considered in the California Senate.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, April 22, 2010 @ 3:56 pm PST
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Ashburn first gay to get SF Pride’s Pink Brick

San Francisco’s LGBT Pride Celebration Committee has announced they’re giving the 2010 Pink Brick Award to Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield), the conservative lawmaker who recently came out as gay after a DUI arrest.

Choosing Ashburn (pictured at left) for the award, which is given each year to a person or institution whose actions have caused the most significant harm to the LGBT community, marks the first time an out gay person has been a Pink Brick recipient.

Amy Andre, the Pride committee’s executive director, said in a statement announcing the award Wednesday, April 21, that by selecting Ashburn, “the LGBT community is sending a strong message to the world that LGBT people—especially those with the political power and privilege to further LGBT rights— have a responsibility to work toward liberation for all.”

Ashburn, who has a solidly anti-gay voting record, was arrested on drunken driving charges after he was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol at around 2 a.m. on March 3 in downtown Sacramento. Sources have told media outlets that Ashburn had just left a gay bar in the area.

A few days later, Ashburn acknowledged he’s gay and told a Kern County radio station that he has no regrets about the votes he has cast against gay rights legislation.

“I am gay,” Ashburn told radio host Inga Barks. “And so, those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long. It is something that is personal, and I don’t believe I felt with my heart that being gay would affect how I do my job.”

During the radio interview, Ashburn said he felt he was representing his constituents with his anti-gay votes.

“I felt my duty, and I still feel this way, is to represent my constituents,” he said.

However, it appears Ashburn might be at least a little open-minded.

Equality California has met with Ashburn, and he has expressed interest in receiving more information about the LGBT lobbying group’s legislative agenda, Vaishalee Raja, EQCA’s communications director, wrote in an e-mail to the Bay Area Reporter.

Ashburn has also agreed to meet with youth attending Queer Youth Advocacy Day in Sacramento on Monday, April 26, Raja wrote.

Geoff Kors, EQCA’s executive director, commented in an e-mail, “We hope receiving the Pink Brick will not hurt the chances of the Senator supporting LGBT-rights legislation. We were surprised to hear that the decision was made after the Senator came out this year and indicated that he is very open to supporting LGBT bills.”

Andrew LaFlamme, director of Ashburn’s Sacramento office, declined to comment on the Pink Brick award, and did not respond to a request to confirm the meeting with EQCA.

Ashburn has voted against a number of bills on various social issues, and consistently voted against any LGBT equal rights legislation, including last year’s Senate Resolution 9, authored by out lesbian state Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego), calling for the repeal of the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and openly gay state Senator Mark Leno’s (D-San Francisco) bill establishing a day of recognition for slain civil rights leader Harvey Milk.

This year marks Pride’s 40th anniversary. The celebration will be June 26-27. For more information, visit Pride’s website.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 3:29 pm PST
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SF District 8 supe candidates host weekend events

Several District 8 supervisor candidates will be busy this weekend in San Francisco as they hold events to drum up interest and support in their races.

Even though he declared his  candidacy in the race a year and a half ago, and pulled papers to begin raising money last July, deputy city attorney Scott Wiener this Saturday will officially kickoff his campaign to succeed Supervisor Bevan Dufty on the Board of Supervisors.

Wiener, who added Supervisor Carmen Chu and Carol Yenne, a Noe Valley business leader, to his list of endorsers this week, is inviting supporters to join him from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 24 at the George Christopher Playground in Diamond Heights to the right of the Safeway shopping center.

To reward people for getting up early on the weekend, Wiener is providing coffee, bagels and fruit as well as some bold-faced names, such as state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who once held the D8 seat, and Mayor Gavin Newsom.

There will also be crafts and activities for kids, and information on upcoming volunteer opportunities to help Wiener in his supervisorial bid.

The following day assistant District Attorney Rebecca Prozan is organizing another carrotmob event to help a D8 business. Just days before officially entering the race, Prozan held a similar event at a coffee shop in Noe Valley.

This time she is asking supporters to dine at the Duboce Park Cafe. The eatery has pledged to spend 50 percent of its profits during the hours of 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 25 toward greening its business.

The cafe is located at 2 Sanchez Street across from Duboce Park.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 1:34 pm PST
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SF Dems, gay group back Michael Nava in SF judge race

The San Francisco Democratic Party and Equality California, the statewide LGBT lobbyist group, have both endorsed openly gay judicial candidate Michael Nava (pictured at right) in his June Primary race for a seat on the San Francisco Superior Court.

Nava, an attorney who works for state Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, is trying to unseat sitting Judge Richard Ulmer, a Republican appointee of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the court’s seat 15. Also in the race is openly gay attorney Daniel Dean.

If no one receives 50 percent plus one of the vote in June, the top two vote-getters will face off in a runoff election in November.

Nava has sought to become a judge for years. After his application to be appointed to a vacancy went nowhere in Sacramento, he shocked the local legal community this year by opting to take on Ulmer, who has tried to distance himself from his Republican ties by noting he registered as a decline-to-state once he was sworn in to his seat on the bench.

Dean also surprised many by jumping into the race and not seeking the open seat on the local court. So far he has failed to gain the backing of the city’s political leadership and gay political clubs. Both the Alice B. Toklas and Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Clubs are backing Nava in the race.

The rash of endorsements for Nava are key as many of the groups, such as the local Democratic Party and gay Dem clubs, send out slate cards to voters. With judicial races lacking in attention from the mainstream press and the electorate, the mailings to voters can give a huge advantage to the favored candidates.

“I’m honored to have received the support of the San Francisco Democratic Party. It is a key endorsement that gives my campaign an important and timely momentum just over 45 days before Election Day,” stated Nava in a release following the party committee’s vote Wednesday, April 21.

Ulmer meanwhile has gained broad support in judicial circles, as sitting judges are prone to support each other. More surprising, he has the endorsements of top Democratic officials such as Mayor Gavin Newsom, CA Dem Party Chair John Burton and San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

The June Primary is Tuesday, June 8.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 11:20 am PST
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UPDATED: CA Gov’s Lt Gov vacancy pick clears Assembly

State Senator Abel Maldonado (seen at left with a California red-legged jumping frog) cleared another hurdle today (Wednesday, April 21) in his arduous attempt to fill the state’s vacant lieutenant governor post.

The state Assembly Rules Committee voted to send the confirmation of Maldonado (R-Santa Monica) to the full Assembly for an up or down vote, which could occur Thursday. Should he be given the post, it would clear the stage for openly gay former state Assemblyman John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) to run for Maldonado’s Senate seat.

[ UPDATED: On Thursday the full Assembly voted to send Maldonado’s confirmation to the Senate, which had supported his being given the vacant post when it was first introduced. The Senate is expected to once again endorsed Maldonado for lt. gov. sometime next week.

The race to fill his Senate seat is expected to be combined with the fall general election in order to save the five counties covered by Senate District 15 the $2.5 million it would cost to hold a special election.  Should the governor do so, it is predicted it would give the Democratic candidate an advantage in the race.

Laird is expected to announce his campaign as soon as Maldonado is given the post. ]

Back in February the Assembly rejected Maldonado for the post and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger immediately renominated him for the seat. Until recently it was unclear if the Legislature’s lower body would readdress the matter or simply allow the confirmation to go into effect without voting on it.

“I applaud the Assembly Rules Committee for once again giving Senator Maldonado a fair hearing. Senator Maldonado has been a great public servant, consistently working in a bipartisan manner to improve the lives of all Californians. Given his proven record as an effective legislator, I am confident the California State Assembly will confirm him tomorrow,” stated Schwarzenegger.

Whether Maldonado has convinced a majority of Assembly members to give him the seat remains to be seen. He has already filed to seek the lt. gov post in the Republican June primary.

If he wins, he will face off against either San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom or Los Angeles Councilmember Janice Hahn, who are locked in a bitter intra-Democratic Party primary race.

— Matthew S. Bajko, April 21, 2010 @ 4:25 pm PST
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State gay group to webcast forums with state Dem candidates

This Sunday, April 25 Equality California, the statewide LGBT lobbyist group, will be hosting forums with the Democratic candidates running for state offices in the June Primary at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

And for those political junkies who can’t be there in person, EQCA for the first time will be webcasting the event. It is also asking people to email in questions for the candidates ahead of time.

At the event, candidates will take questions from a panel composed of members of the press and community leaders.

Topics expected to be covered include LGBT healthcare, protections for LGBT students; and prosecuting hate crimes against LGBT Californians.

The forum will not cover the governor’s race, in which Attorney General Jerry Brown is all but assured of receiving his party’s nomination to seek his old job back in the fall election.

The morning session from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. will cover the races for insurance commissioner and attorney general, in which San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris is among the candidates.

The afternoon session from 3:30 to 5 p.m. will cover the race for superintendent of public instruction and lieutenant governor. The race for the state’s largely ceremonial second-in-command has split LGBT voters up and down the state between supporting San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Councilmember Janice Hahn.

Of the four candidate forums, the one with Newsom and Hahn could produce the most sparks.

EQCA’s Political Action Committee has yet to endorse in the races.

To watch live online go to

And to submit questions before the event, send an email to

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

LGBT equality conference set for SF

A two-day conference meant to help build a regional network working for full, national LGBT equality is set to begin Saturday, April 17, in San Francisco.

The Building Bridges conference, at the Mission Cultural Center, 2868 Mission Street, is a regional gathering spawned by the huge Equality Across America rally in Washington, D.C., last October.

The conference begins at 10 a.m. Saturday and goes through 5 p.m. Sunday, April 18.

A wide array of topics – including housing, immigration reform, marriage equality, and labor – will be featured, reflecting organizers’ desire to bring people from diverse backgrounds together.

“This conference will build strategy and plans for successful protest, community organizing, civil disobedience, and direct action via a regional and national network,” according to the meeting’s mission statement.

No one will be turned away for lack of funds, but general pricing is $10-$15 sliding scale. Optional $40 “solidarity ticketing” is available for those willing to help make the conference available to everyone.

Tickets are available online, and will also be available at the door, provided the conference doesn’t sell out.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, April 15, 2010 @ 4:59 pm PST
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LGBT leaders host SF fundraiser for gay CA Assembly Speaker John A. Perez

A veritable who’s who of LGBT leaders from San Francisco and the Bay Area are hosting a fundraiser next week for Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles), the first out person to hold a top leadership post in the state Legislature.

Perez (pictured at right) was vindicated this week for remarks he made during his first press conference with LGBT media after being sworn in to what is considered to be the second most powerful position in Sacramento. During the phone call March 2 Perez declared that efforts to repeal Proposition 8 in 2010 had failed, more than a month before the deadline to qualify the measure this year.

The grassroots groups behind the effort to rescind the constitutional ban against same-sex marriage that voters passed in 2008 denounced Perez’s comments. But this week they admitted what Perez and other LGBT leaders had been predicting for months, that the signatures were not there to place a Prop 8 repeal measure on the fall ballot.

Next Tuesday, April 20 the former University of California at Berkeley student will be feted in San Francisco, where he once worked when he served as the political director of the California Labor Federation in 2000. Tickets to the event cost $100.

It is being organized by the Political Action Committee of Equality California, the statewide LGBT lobbying group. Among the LGBT hosts of the event are state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco); Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco); San Francisco City Treasurer José Cisneros; former Ambassador James C. Hormel and his partner Michael Nguyen, a San Francisco library commissioner; Vallejo City Councilman Michael Wilson, who is running for a North Bay Assembly seat; and Rebecca Prozan, who is seeking a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Straight allies state Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) and Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco), who hosted a local fundraiser for Perez’ first Assembly race in 2008, are also co-hosts for the event next week.

The reception takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the offices of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, One Embarcadero, 30th Floor, in downtown San Francisco.

To RSVP and pay by check or for questions, contact Owen Stephens at or call 415-581-0005 x317.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:41 pm PST
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SF school district reveals winning Pride posters

The winners from the San Francisco Unified School District’s Gay Pride Month poster contest have been announced, just ahead of the national Day of Silence [Friday, April 16].

Multiple copies of the posters, along with newly created “Silence Stickers,” educational resources, and buttons, have been distributed to elementary, middle and high school health LGBTQ liaisons in the district.

The Day of Silence is when hundreds of thousands of students nationwide take a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBTQ name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools.

The district’s Support Services for LGBTQ Youth was responsible for the poster contest.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:40 pm PST
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