2009 Holiday Season Social

This event is to thank the volunteers,friends and families that came out this year in support of the GLBT Polynesian community as advocates for repealing California's proposition 8 denying same sex couples the right to legally. Your support and dedication has been a great inspiration to the community. We hope you will continue to stand beside us as we work together to over turn this discriminating policy. Please join us in celebrating your support and the holiday season with appetizers, desserts,beer, wine with holiday music and cheer at the a.Muse art gallery in San Francisco.

Note: To avoid exceeding the maximum capacity, the event will be invitation only on a first come first serve basis. Please contact Sedrick Vanisi for details on making reservations. (svanisi@gmail.com)


Come celebrate Gay Pride with the Polynesian community in San Francisco, California. Enjoy Polynesian food,spirits and entertainment at the beautiful Golden Gate park.
Date: June 20,2009
Time: 11:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.
Location: 1000 John F Kennedy Drive at 30th Ave.,
Lindley Meadow (Golden Gate Park), San Francisco, CA, 94121

Lindley Meadow is located along John F. Kennedy Drive near Spreckels Lake. The meadow is a long stretch of grassy open space with 4 picnic tables (closest restrooms are about a 3 minute walk from area) and barbecue grill. Please stay tuned for further details. You may email us at utopiasf@gmail.com if you have any questions.

California Supreme Court signals mixed response to Proposition 8

(From the LA Times)

Reporting from San Francisco and Los Angeles -- The California Supreme Court appeared ready today to vote to uphold Proposition 8, the November ballot measure that banned gay marriage, but also seemed ready to decide unanimously to recognize existing same-sex marriages.

During a three-hour televised hearing in San Francisco, only two of the court's seven justices indicated a possible readiness to overturn the initiative. Chief Justice Ronald M. George noted that the court was following a different Constitution when it approved gay marriage last May.

* Rallies against Prop. 8 in Los Angeles and San Francisco
Photos: Rallies against Prop. 8...

Times coverage of Proposition 8
Live blog: Supreme Court hears Prop. 8 arguments

"Today we have a different state Constitution," he said.

Justice Joyce L. Kennard, who usually votes in favor of gay rights, voted against accepting the revision challenge to Proposition 8 but said she would hear arguments over the validity of existing same-sex marriages.

Kennard said during the hearing that "Prop. 8 did not take away the whole bundle of rights that this court articulated in the marriage case."

She said that "a very important holding" – giving sexual orientation the same constitutional status as race or gender – was not changed.

"Is it still your view that the sky has fallen and gays and lesbians are left with nothing?" she asked gay rights lawyers?

Kennard told them they also had the right to return to voters with their own initiative.

Even the court's conservatives appeared ready to vote to uphold existing marriages.

Justice Carol A. Corrigan, who voted against giving gays marriage rights last May, said couples who wed before the election relied on the law of the state at the time. Aren't those couples "entitled, if nothing else as a matter of equity, to rely on the law as it existed at the time they married?" she said.

George is often a swing vote on the court, sometimes siding with the court's conservative wing and other times, particularly in civil cases, voting with the more liberal justices.

The court is considering legal challenges to Proposition 8. If the court upholds the measure, it also must decide the fate of an estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages that took place before voters reinstated a marriage ban in November.

The state high court ruled 4-3 last May 15 that same-sex couples should be entitled to marry. George wrote the ruling, which was signed by Justices Joyce L. Kennard, Kathryn Mickle Werdegar and Carlos R. Moreno.

Justices Marvin R. Baxter, Ming W. Chin and Carol A. Corrigan voted against overturning the state's previous ban, arguing that the matter should be left to voters.

Six of the court's justices were appointed by Republican governors. Moreno is the only Democratic appointee.

After Proposition 8 was passed by voters in November, gay rights lawyers challenged the measure as an impermissible constitutional revision rather than a more limited amendment. Only Moreno voted to put the measure on hold pending a decision on the challenges.

The anti-Proposition 8 lawyers took the floor first.

Raymond C. Marshall of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center argued that nothing is more fundamental than the equal protection doctrine as he sought to cast Proposition 8 as an unconstitutional deprivation of the right to marry targeted against gays.

"This is the first time a ballot initiative will have been used to take away a fundamental right from a suspect class," he told the justices.

Michael Maroko, another anti-Proposition 8 speaker, told the justices that "if the state stuck its finger into the marriage business, it should do it equally. . . . If gay couples don't have the right to marry, straight couples shouldn't either."

Get ready: Prop 8 legal challenge oral arguments

On Thursday, March 5, the California Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Strauss v. Horton, our lawsuit challenging Proposition 8. The suit, brought by the ACLU, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Lambda Legal, seeks to overturn Prop 8, arguing that it is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used to undo the constitutional guarantee of equality under the law for one group of people -- lesbian and gay Californians.

Proposition 8 defeats the very purpose of a constitution, which is to protect minorities from the majority, and to make sure the law treats everyone equally. Forty-three friend-of-the-court briefs -- an unprecedented number -- were filed urging the Court to invalidate Prop 8. The briefs were signed by hundreds of religious organizations, civil rights and women’s rights groups, labor unions, municipal governments, bar associations, and legal scholars. These briefs supported our lawsuit, because all minority groups are at risk of losing their rights at the ballot box if Prop 8 is allowed to stand.

We’re proud of our lawsuit challenging Proposition 8. This is one of the most watched cases of the year, so save the date and tune in.

Read more about Strauss v. Horton, our lawsuit challenging Prop 8.

Elizabeth Gill
ACLU LGBT Project & AIDS Project

Oral Arguments in Prop 8 Legal Challenge
Thursday, March 5
9am - Noon (PST)
Watch online »

San Francisco Public Viewings:
- SF LGBT Center, 1800 Market St
- Civic Center Plaza

March 4: Attend a Candlelight Vigil
(Events held around the state.)
Learn more »

Prop 8 Supporters Are Preparing To Counter Anti-8 Marchers

Statement submitted by the Yes on 8 Campaign Chairman Ron Prentice:

Proposition 8 was put before the people of California, and by a wide margin of 600,000 votes became a part of the California Constitution (Article 1, Section 7.5). Next Thursday, March 5, the California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments to determine whether the sovereign will of the people should be upheld, and whether marriage between only a man and a woman will stand.

This is the most important legal issue impacting families in a generation. The outcome of this case is “do or die” for traditional marriage. If the California Supreme Court were to overrule the vote of the people (for the second time) it would not be long before homosexual marriage is the law of the land across this country.

ProtectMarriage.com, the committee responsible for enacting Prop 8, urges you and all our supporters to take action. We are declaring this Sunday, March 1, to be a Day of Prayer for Marriage.

Proposition 8 was supported by over 7 million voters, and we call on those who support traditional marriage to pray for it to be upheld. Please ask the Lord for wisdom for the Justices of the California Supreme Court. Pray, also, for those who oppose this amendment to our Constitution, that they would understand our motivation is to affirm traditional marriage, not to offend any person or group.

Activists who oppose Prop 8 are organizing a candlelight vigil in several cities for March 4, followed by a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court building in San Francisco on March 5. Organizers against Prop 8 are calling for a march of 100,000 people to the Court building (click here to view their events list). It has come to our attention that many Prop 8 supporters are also making plans to appear at the steps of the Supreme Court building on the morning of March 5. We welcome your participation, but request that all messages on homemade signs affirm traditional marriage, avoiding offensive statements regarding alternative lifestyles. If you are in close proximity to San Francisco, plan to arrive by 8 a.m. at the court, located at 350 McAllister. We do not wish to provoke or permit any kind of confrontation with our opponents. Please avoid any such activity carefully. Our only purpose is to remind the media, Californians and Americans everywhere that support for traditional marriage is the majority position in the state. Twice now voters have supported traditional marriage and rejected gay marriage. We won the Prop 8 election. The constitution has been amended. The will of the people should now prevail.

ProtectMarriage.com is the only group that will appear before the Supreme Court to uphold the vote of the people enacting Prop 8 and affirm traditional marriage as the law of the land. The upcoming Day of Prayer will provide a vehicle for all our supporters to express their own support for traditional marriage and to call on God, the author of marriage, to bless the arguments our attorneys will present to the Court and to grant the justices wisdom as they consider the arguments.

Thank you for your support of Proposition 8. Please participate in the Day of Prayer this coming Sunday and, if you are in proximity to San Francisco, come to the steps of the Supreme Court building at 8 a.m. on March 5 to show your support for Prop 8.

Thank you so much for your attention and support.

Very truly yours,

Ron Prentice

Prop 8 Hearing Set For March 5, 2009

The Supreme Court has announced that an oral argument will be held in the Prop. 8 cases on Thursday, March 5, 2009, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The court will issue a written opinion in the cases within 90 days of oral argument. See news release.

President Obama Already Working On Change

It's only been 4 days since newly elected President Obama has taken office yet, he and his administration has already updated the official site of the President to reflect the changeover from President George Bush to President Barack Obama within a few minutes of Obama's inauguration.

Below is directly from the site under civil rights:

Support for the LGBT Community

"While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It's about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect."

-- Barack Obama, June 1, 2007

* Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of such crimes. President Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to include violent hate crimes perpetrated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, President Obama passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit them against the law.
* Fight Workplace Discrimination: President Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees' domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. The President also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
* Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.
* Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: President Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.
* Repeal Don't Ask-Don't Tell: President Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. The President will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.
* Expand Adoption Rights: President Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.
* Promote AIDS Prevention: In the first year of his presidency, President Obama will develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities. The President will support common sense approaches including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception, combating infection within our prison population through education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through our public health system. The President also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. President Obama has also been willing to confront the stigma -- too often tied to homophobia -- that continues to surround HIV/AIDS.
* Empower Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS: In the United States, the percentage of women diagnosed with AIDS has quadrupled over the last 20 years. Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. President Obama introduced the Microbicide Development Act, which will accelerate the development of products that empower women in the battle against AIDS. Microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women apply topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections.

For more information

Gay Bishop Gene Robinson Left Out Of HBO Concert Coverage

Jason Linkins
Huffington Post

Sunday's big Lincoln Memorial show was billed as the "We Are One" concert, intended to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama with a spirit of unity. But for those of us watching at home, one participant was excluded -- Gene Robinson, the "first openly gay, non-celibate priest to be ordained a bishop in a major Christian denomination." Robinson was on hand to deliver an opening prayer to the event, but this prayer went unseen by anyone watching on HBO, who provided and sponsored the coverage.

Reached for comment, a spokesperson for HBO stated that decisions regarding the timing and presentation of Robinson's remarks were made by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, and that Robinson was "not a part of our show from the start." Indeed, Robinson appeared minutes before the 2:30pm start time of the concert coverage. HBO's response to the matter has been uniform. A spokeperson offered AfterElton.com much the same response: "The producer of the concert has said that the Presidential Inaugural Committee made the decision to keep the invocation as part of the pre-show."

HBO comes to this controversy without any sort of significant reputation for being a network or a workplace hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. In fact, the network is responsible for airing the drama Six Feet Under, which depicted gays in complex relationships unflinchingly. The Obama camp, on the other hand, has courted controversy already with the decision to include in the inauguration Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren, a supporter of Proposition 8 in California. The appearance of a snub in the case of Bishop Robinson has successfully raised the temperature among Democratic activists and in the liberal blogosphere, where outrage is being pointed mostly at the incoming administration and the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Calls for comment from the PIC have not been returned. Bishop Robinson is slated to be a guest on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" today at 2pm.

Watch the prayer here:

Prop. 8 Backers Take On AG's Gay Marriage Argument

The Associated Press
Published: Monday, Jan. 05, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO -- The sponsors of California's voter-approved gay marriage ban say Attorney General Jerry Brown is advancing a far-fetched legal theory to justify overturning Proposition 8.

Lawyers for the Protect Marriage coalition on Monday answered the about-face Brown took last month in urging the state Supreme Court to strike down the new marriage law. In a filing with the California Supreme Court, they called his claim that voters lacked the authority to deprive a minority group of a basic civil right "a hoary message" that invites "judicial triumphalism."

The brief comes as part of a series of legal challenges to Proposition 8 brought by same-sex marriage supporters after the ballot measure passed with 52 percent of the vote. Brown initially said he would defend it in his role as attorney general.