Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 49 / 7 December 2017
 

Court to file opinion on standing in Prop 8 suit Thursday

The California Supreme Court will file its opinion Thursday, November 17 on whether backers of Prop 8 have standing in the case, the court announced today.

The state court has been asked to consider whether the official proponents of an initiative measure have standing to defend the measure’s constitutionality when the public officials charged with that duty decline to do so.

Opponents of the state’s same-sex marriage ban, passed in November 2008, are fighting the measure through the Perry vs. Brown federal lawsuit. Both Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris have said they won’t defend Prop 8. That’s left the anti-gay Protect Marriage group on their own in fighting their case

In August 2010, a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge ruled that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. The measure’s supporters quickly appealed that decision. If Prop 8’s supporters aren’t allowed to defend the ban in court on their own, it could mean the end of the ban. However, when the state’s Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments in the standing case, they appeared to be leaning in favor of Prop 8’s backers.

The court is set to file its written opinion at 10 a.m. on Thursday. At the time of filing, the opinion will be available on the California Courts website.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 16, 2011 @ 1:37 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Current Headlines

Lee appears headed to full term as mayor

Interim Mayor Ed Lee, who upturned this year’s mayoral race with his switcheroo from not wanting the job permanently to seeking a full four-year term, appears headed to clinching victory after a nasty skirmish for Room 200 at City Hall.

 

Gay supe wins one initiative, loses two

San Francisco voters had a chance to decide the fate of several ballot measures addressing everything from school construction to campaign consultants on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8.

 

Marriage equality in art & poetry

The Air We Breathe,’ a mixed-media exhibit at SFMOMA

 

Sleepless in South Asia

9th annual SF International South Asian Film Festival

 

— admin, November 11, 2011 @ 12:50 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Gascón, Mirkarimi declare victory in DA, sheriff’s races

Appointed District Attorney George Gascón and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who’d run for the sheriff, declared victory today in their races.

Election Day was Tuesday, November 8, but because of the ranked choice voting system neither man had felt confident enough to claim their positions until this afternoon.

“The people of San Francisco have spoken very clearly in the race,” Gascón (seen at right) said at a news conference outside the Department of Elections.

He said that his message of bringing people together to deal with violent crime and  diverting low level offenses away from criminal courts resonated with people. He also said they’d seen him at work for 10 months and obviously liked what they saw.

Gascón was the city’s police chief when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed him to be DA in January. The post had been vacated by Kamala Harris, who had just become the state’s attorney general.

Briefly recalling his childhood in Cuba, Gascón said he’s the city’s first Latino district attorney.

“I look forward to the next four years working with everybody, even those who opposed me,” Gascón said.

Gascón ‘s main opponents – criminal justice expert David Onek and longtime prosecutor Sharmin Bock – had said as a former police chief, Gascón shouldn’t be DA. They said he wouldn’t be able to investigate or prosecute police officers fairly. (Onek and Bock both conceded Wednesday, November 9.)

At City Hall today, Gascón  said there’d been “a certain level of hyperbole” during the campaign.

“Frankly, I was somewhat offended at times,” he said.

Gascón also addressed a memo that’s apparently critical of the city’s DNA crime lab. He’s refused to release the document. Today, he said it represents “work product” and is therefore exempt from public disclosure. He said a San Francisco Superior Court judge is still considering the matter.

“We’ll be guided by whatever the court decides,” Gascón said.

As Gascón was finishing his remarks, Mirkarimi started his own news conference a few feet away.

He said he was “more then encouraged” by the latest vote tallies and “Our position of victory is quite secure.”

Mirkarimi (seen at left), who’s represented District 5 on the Board of Supervisors for seven years, is set to replace Sheriff Mike Hennessey, who’s stepping down from the office after 32 years.

Hennessey has been known for his progressive policies, and Mirkarimi said he’d “continue on the legacy and build on the legacy” of the outgoing sheriff.

Mirkarimi’s main opponents, former undersheriff Chris Cunnie and Sheriff’s Captain Paul Miyamoto, have both conceded.

Once Mirkarimi is sworn into office in January, his seat on the Board of Supervisors will be open. Mayor Ed Lee, who won enough votes this week to hold onto his job, will appoint a replacement. Referring to himself and district residents Mirkarimi said, “I’d like to believe we would have a say.”

He wouldn’t say whom he’d like this replacement to be, but he said he’s “hearing a lot of names.”

“You’ve got to know the district, and the district has got to know you,” Mirkarimi said.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more election-related coverage in the Thursday, November 17 edition.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 10, 2011 @ 7:31 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Lyon-Martin clinic to mark Phyllis Lyon’s birthday

Today is the 87th birthday of Phyllis Lyon (seen at left), and San Francisco’s Lyon-Martin Health Services will celebrate with a fundraising party Thursday, November 17.

The event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at the city’s LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street. The 1940s-themed evening will include entertainment by Josh Klipp and the Klipptones.

The health clinic is named after Lyon and her late wife Del Martin, who are regarded as lesbian pioneers. The couple founded the Daughters of Bilitis in San Francisco in 1955. That group had a lesbian newsletter, The Ladder, for many years.

Lyon and Martin were the first same-sex couple to marry in San Francisco during the city’s Winter of Love in 2004. Such unions were eventually annulled by the state Supreme Court, but were briefly allowed again in 2008. Lyon and Martin were wed again June 16 of that year. Martin died just over two months later at the age of 87.

When the Lyon-Martin clinic, at 1748 Market Street, started more than 30 years ago, it was the only clinic in the world specifically for lesbians. The clinic, which strives to provide culturally competent health care regardless of ability to pay, has expanded to include transgender patients.

The past year has been challenging for the nonprofit. In January, the board of directors announced they’d have to shut down within days, as the clinic had a total debt of $1.1 million. It’s not clear how much of that’s been paid off, but with the help of community supporters who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, the organization has managed to stay open.

Tickets for Lyon’s party start at $87 and can be purchased here.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 3:56 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


DOMA repeal leaves Senate panel but faces hurdles

The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday voted to recommend passage of a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

The bill is the Respect for Marriage Act (S. 598). Thursday’s 10-8 vote along partisan lines had been originally scheduled for November 3 but was postponed a week at the request of Republicans on the committee.

Republican Charles Grassley (Iowa) criticized Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) for putting the bill on the committee’s agenda, saying the committee should, instead, be taking up “bills that can pass” and which address the country’s financial problems. Grassley said S. 598 “lacks the votes to pass the Senate” and that, even if it does pass the Senate, “it will not be taken up in the House,” which is controlled by Republicans.

Grassley repeatedly referred to the measure as the “Restoration of Marriage Act,” instead of Respect for Marriage, and said it would not accomplish “restoration of any rights,” but rather create “new rights that same-sex couples have never had under federal law.”

He also said there is a “universal religious view” that marriage is “about procreation and child-bearing.”

“To me, this debate is about stable families, good environments for raising children, and religious belief,” said Grassley. “It is not about discriminating against anyone. No society has limited marriage to heterosexual couples because of a desire to create second-class families.”

He rebuffed the arguments of many, including the bill’s chief sponsor, California Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) (shown at right), that the fight to repeal DOMA is reminiscent of the fight to repeal laws that barred interracial marriages. Quoting Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Grassley said such comparisons can be “deeply offensive” to African Americans.

Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper offered some support for Grassley’s concerns about “priorities” but also spoke about “what marriage means in America today.”

“Today’s hearing was a principled discussion about the meaning of federalism, the priorities of our nation in a challenging time, and what marriage means in America today,” said Cooper.

Feinstein noted, in her remarks Thursday, that a large group of corporations filed a legal brief recently highlighting the ways DOMA burdens them with red tape and requires they treat employees differently if they are gay.

Shin Inouye, a White House spokesman, issued a statement saying, “President Obama applauds today’s vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve the Respect for Marriage Act, which would provide a legislative repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. The president has long believed that DOMA is discriminatory and has called for its repeal. We should all work toward taking this law off the books. The federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections afforded to straight couples.”

Evan Wolfson, head of the national Freedom to Marry group, noted that support for the Respect for Marriage Act has grown to 31 co-sponsors in the Senate and 133 in the House.

“The historic growth in support among lawmakers for repealing DOMA mirrors the growth in public support for the freedom to marry to what is now a solid majority nationwide,” said Wolfson.

Recent polling has begun to show a consistent trend in public opinion supporting the right of same-sex couples to get married. A survey of 1,001 adults nationwide by ABC and the Washington Post in July found 51 percent “think it should be legal for gay and lesbians couples to get married.”

Supporters of the legislation will need 60 votes to overcome will almost certainly be a filibuster of the legislation should Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nevada) bring it to the floor. Politico.com noted that Feinstein acknowledged to reporters after the hearing that the bill does not have those 60 votes and that she has not spoken to Reid about the bill.

– Reported by Lisa Keen

— Cynthia Laird, @ 11:17 am PST
Filed under: News,Politics


EQCA snubs lesbian Assembly candidate Torie Osborn

Equality California’s Political Action Committee has snubbed Torie Osborn, (seen at right) an out lesbian running for a state Assembly seat in Santa Monica and West Hollywood. It instead has endorsed one of her straight opponents, Assemblywoman Betsy Butler (D-Marina Del Rey).

The statewide LGBT advocacy organization today (Monday, November 7) announced a series of early endorsements in state legislative races for 2012. Its decision to endorse Butler over Osborn, while expected, is sure to add to the tensions in the heated political contest.

Butler serves on the Equality California Institute’s board of directors, which is separate from the EQCA PAC. The freshman lawmaker earned EQCA’s backing last year when she also found herself running against an openly gay candidate. But in that race Butler was considered the stronger candidate and seeking a seat that included her hometown.

This year Osborn is seen as a strong competitor. And Butler has caused consternation within the Los Angeles area LGBT community by deciding to move into the newly created 50th Assembly District. While Butler’s supporters call her “the incumbent in the race,” Osborn’s campaign has vigorously objected to labeling Butler the incumbent as she does not currently represent the cities in the new 50th Assembly District.

Until Butler entered the race, Osborn appeared to have a lock on LGBT endorsements for an Assembly District with a large LGBT population. The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund gave Osborn its early endorsement.

Now LGBT support has been divided between Osborn and Butler. And it has caused some gay lawmakers to be put into awkward situations by choosing sides or withdrawing their initial endorsements for Osborn.

For several months earlier this year openly gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) was listed as an endorser of Osborn. After Butler jumped into the race Leno was listed as an endorser of both women’s campaigns throughout September and October.

When asked by the Bay Area Reporter on October 24 about Leno’s apparent dual endorsement, Osborn campaign spokesman Dave Jacobsen made no mention of the lawmaker withdrawing his support.  It wasn’t until recent weeks that Osborn’s campaign removed Leno as an endorser from its campaign website.

He is only backing Butler in the race.

In announcing its list of Sacramento lawmakers it was giving early endorsements to, EQCA explained that the group had earned a 100 percent ranking on its 2011 Legislative Scorecard. And it stressed that its policy, “except in rare and extraordinary circumstances, is to endorse incumbents with a 100 percent pro-LGBT voting record, who are running for re-election to the same legislative house.”

In an emailed message to EQCA supporters, Suzy Jones, chair of the Equality California Candidate Political Action Committee, wrote that the sitting lawmakers had earned the group’s support.

“Without the support of these candidates, our ability to advance equality or defend against extremist attacks on LGBT people would be extremely limited. We can’t let our pro-equality majority slip away,” wrote Jones. “That’s why our movement must come together to support those who have consistently championed our mission of full and lasting equality for all LGBT people in California.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, November 7, 2011 @ 4:05 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Move upends lesbian Long Beach lawmaker’s Sacto plans

The news that Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) would seek re-election to the Legislature’s lower chamber has upended a lesbian Long Beach councilwoman’s plans for the seat.

Lowenthal announced Friday, November 4 that she was ending her bid for a state Senate seat and would instead seek re-election to the newly drawn 70th Assembly District. Polls had shown her losing in the race for the newly drawn 33rd state Senate District to openly gay Assemblyman Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens).

“After serious deliberation, I’ve decided I can better serve my constituents and the people of California in the State Assembly,” Lowenthal said in a statement released to local news media.

The new Senate seat tilts Latino in terms of population, giving Lara a leg up in the election. Should he win next year, Lara would be the first out person of color to serve in the state Senate.

Lowenthal’s decision presents a problem for out Long Beach City Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske (seen at left). She now faces the prospect of running against a sitting incumbent, and speculation is already growing that Schipske will drop out of the race.

As of this afternoon (Monday, November 7) she had yet to react to the news about Lowenthal on her Assembly campaign website or Facebook page. Some pundits have suggested Schipske look at running for Congress in the new 47th Congressional District.

The congressional seat is centered in Long Beach, and she would be the first woman to enter the race, which has already attracted four white male candidates. The Democratic Schipske twice has run for Congress but both times lost to Republican opponents.

A Long Beach native, Schipske teaches law and human resources management at California State University Long Beach. Together with her partner, Flo Pickett, for 31 years, she was first elected to the Long Beach City Council in 2006 and was re-elected last fall.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:21 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Pride day shooter to be sentenced

An 18-year-old San Francisco man is set to be sentenced Monday, November 7 for a shooting that occurred near this year’s San Francisco LGBT Pride celebration.

Terrell Blay (seen at left) pleaded not guilty June 29 in San Francisco Superior Court to charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a concealed weapon, carrying a loaded firearm, participating in a criminal street gang, and resisting arrest. The district attorney’s office also alleged street terrorism in the case. His bail is set at $ 250,000. DA spokesman Omid Talai couldn’t say today what the expected sentence is.

The incident, in which five people were sent to the hospital, happened near 7th and Market streets Saturday, June 25. The spot is close to where the first day of the annual Pride celebration had just wound up, though law enforcement officials don’t believe the shooting was directly related to the gay event.

A 16-year-old San Francisco boy has been charged with five counts of attempted murder in connection with the shooting.

In addition to the attempted murder charges, the boy, whose name hasn’t been released because of his age, faces five counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm. He also faces three gun charges including possession of a concealed weapon and carrying a loaded firearm. The boy’s next court date is November 29 for a pre-hearing conference. Further details related to his case haven’t been released.

According to police, the incident occurred at about 6:15 p.m. A suspect from one of two groups shot several rounds, resulting in five people being struck.

The victims were men aged 17, 20, 21, 45 and 74, police said. All were taken to San Francisco General Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Blay was found near the shooting scene after a brief chase in which he was observed dropping a gun to the ground, according to the DA’s office. A loaded firearm was recovered from the scene.

Former San Francisco police spokesman Lieutenant Troy Dangerfield has said that police believe the shooting was gang-related because members of the gang task force were at the scene and knew both suspects “to be involved in gang activity.” He didn’t know if any of the victims had been attending the Pride celebration.

“As far as we know, this was not related to the Pride event at all,” he said.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 4, 2011 @ 3:48 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Gay former City College official gets probation for misusing funds

A gay former San Francisco City College official was sentenced to five years of probation this week for misusing public funds and making illegal campaign contributions.

Stephen Herman (seen at left), who was once City College’s associate vice chancellor, received the sentence Tuesday, November 1. Former City College Chancellor Philip Day, Jr. got the same sentence.

In July 2009, the two pleaded not guilty to charges that included conspiracy and grand theft. They were accused of diverting money owed to City College to political campaign committees on multiple occasions.

Cristina Arguedas, Day’s attorney, said the convictions were reduced to misdemeanors and the two men received court probation. That means they don’t have to report to probation officers and there are “no obligations except to obey the law.”

She said the sentence “recognized Phil’s 40 years of good works,” and it acknowledged there was no personal benefit to the crimes. Day is now retired, she said.

Michael Sweet, Herman’s attorney, didn’t respond to an interview request.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 3, 2011 @ 4:15 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Peninsula’s Gordon latest gay official to back Luis Lopez Assembly bid

Openly gay Peninsula Assemblyman Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park) today became the latest LGBT leader to endorse Luis Lopez’s 2012 bid for a Los Angeles-area Assembly seat.

In a statement released Thursday, November 3 by Lopez’s campaign Gordon (seen at left) called him “capable and fair-minded” and would not be beholden to special interests in Sacramento.

“He stands for the people and the public interest, on healthcare, jobs, parks and green space preservation, and human rights,” stated Gordon. “Luis is fighting for the pathways of opportunity on which our state’s future depends, in education, workforce preparedness, and innovation. He will make an excellent representative and a very effective leader in the Assembly.”

Lopez, a gay man who helped launch the Latino LGBT political action committee Honor PAC, is running for the Assembly’s 51st District, which encompasses Northeast Los Angeles and East L.A., where he grew up.

He recently moved into the district’s Eagle Rock neighborhood as the home he owns with partner Hans Johnson in Silver Lake falls into the newly drawn 43rd Assembly District based in Burbank.

“The endorsement of Rich Gordon means a great deal to me and my campaign,” stated Lopez, who has twice now held fundraisers in San Francisco as he raises money for his bid. “His knowledge and leadership on technology, job creation, transportation, and budgeting are greatly respected in Sacramento and increasingly throughout the state. His strong backing sends a signal about who I am and how I will deliver for my district.”

Gordon is the second out Bay Area lawmaker to personally endorse Lopez. Gay state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) last month announced his support of Lopez’s campaign. Earlier this year the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund also backed Lopez in the race.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 2:00 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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