I’ll sum this up for you. Two men, Harold and Clay, lived together for 20 years in Sonoma County, CA, they took extreme care to make sure they had legal protections in place so that they could take care of one another. Instead, when Harold fell, the county and healthcare workers ignored all the legal paperwork and refused to let Clay see him, refused to let Clay dictate the medical treatment, they forcibly removed Clay from their home and put him in a separate nursing home from Harold, against his will, and finally they took all of their belongings from that home and auctioned them off. Harold died alone three months later. Clay was finally able to get an attorney to get him out of the nursing home, but his home and all of his belongings were gone.
All of this in a county in California that voted 68% against Prop 8 — this is a place with support for marriage equality that still did this to a gay couple. People don’t understand that this isn’t just a fight for a word, this is a fight for adults wanting to be treated as adults, capable of choosing who is important to them and who has a say in their lives. This is about incredibly basic human decency that gay people are denied. People think, oh stuff like that doesn’t happen anymore.
Yes, it does. And it’s inhumane and disgusting and cruel. And when you don’t support gay marriage, what you’re saying is “I want this to happen to people. I don’t think gay people deserve to be treated like humans, they aren’t human as far as I’m concerned. It’s not enough for them to live their lives away from me, I want them to suffer.” Every single organization, every single politician, every single person who supports the ban on gay marriage is tacitly endorsing this abuse.
Clay and his partner of 20 years, Harold, lived in California. Clay and Harold made diligent efforts to protect their legal rights, and had their legal paperwork in place—wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, all naming each other. Harold was 88 years old and in frail medical condition, but still living at home with Clay, 77, who was in good health.
One evening, Harold fell down the front steps of their home and was taken to the hospital. Based on their medical directives alone, Clay should have been consulted in Harold’s care from the first moment. Tragically, county and health care workers instead refused to allow Clay to see Harold in the hospital. The county then ultimately went one step further by isolating the couple from each other, placing the men in separate nursing homes.
Ignoring Clay’s significant role in Harold’s life, the county continued to treat Harold like he had no family and went to court seeking the power to make financial decisions on his behalf. Outrageously, the county represented to the judge that Clay was merely Harold’s “roommate.” The court denied their efforts, but did grant the county limited access to one of Harold’s bank accounts to pay for his care.
What happened next is even more chilling: without authority, without determining the value of Clay and Harold’s possessions accumulated over the course of their 20 years together or making any effort to determine which items belonged to whom, the county took everything Harold and Clay owned and auctioned off all of their belongings. Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Clay from his home and confined him to a nursing home against his will. The county workers then terminated Clay and Harold’s lease and surrendered the home they had shared for many years to the landlord.
Three months after he was hospitalized, Harold died in the nursing home. Because of the county’s actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 20 years. Compounding this tragedy, Clay has literally nothing left of the home he had shared with Harold or the life he was living up until the day that Harold fell, because he has been unable to recover any of his property. The only memento Clay has is a photo album that Harold painstakingly put together for Clay during the last three months of his life.
With the help of a dedicated and persistent court-appointed attorney, Anne Dennis of Santa Rosa, Clay was finally released from the nursing home. Ms. Dennis, along with Stephen O’Neill and Margaret Flynn of Tarkington, O’Neill, Barrack & Chong, now represent Clay in a lawsuit against the county, the auction company, and the nursing home, with technical assistance from NCLR. A trial date has been set for July 16, 2010 in the Superior Court for the County of Sonoma.
First, RIP Howard Zinn and JD Salinger. Strange to lose such great men on the same day. Perhaps they’d been keeping themselves alive for the State of the Union. I think there’s a John Adams and Thomas Jefferson story to be had under there.
Tonight at 8pm PST, the online test to qualify for Jeopardy! is available. You should go do that.
Scalito proved himself to be a horrific activist politician rather than an impartial judge last night. My level of hope for a reasonable decision on Prop 8 diminishes each time I consider the fact that Scalia and Alito exist.
And there was a study out today saying that gender didn’t matter in parenting.
The trial is over for now. In the near future, the judge will call both sides to give their closing arguments. He wants to familiarize himself with all of the documents he’s been given. It’s a lot.
Today we learned even more about the defense witness Mr. Blankenhorn, now being called Blankenhorny thanks to a particularly saucy response to one of Boies questions.
Boies: Go to your third rule, sex
Blackenhorn: That is an interesting subject
Boies: I don’t want to fall into the trap of making sex boring
Blackenhorn: Maybe together we can make it interesting
(COURTROOM DOUBLED OVER IN LAUGHTER)
I’m fairly certain that witnesses making sexual overtures to the opposing council is generally frowned upon. We also learned that the lead witness for the defense thinks that same sex marriage is good for couples and children, he just thinks it’d make “normal couples” unhappy. And that Judge Walker is growing impatient with how obnoxious the defense witnesses are.
Q: I am going to try to make things go a little better today, good morning Mr Blankenhorn. Do you believe marriage is public good?
A: Yes I do
Q: And you believe that children benefit from their parents being married?
A: yes certainly
Q: And do you believe that children of G&L couples would benefit from their parents being married?
A: Well, I do think it would be better for them
Q: You absolutely believe it would be better for children of same sex couples to have married parents?
Q: (reads from B’s book) You say the rights of G&L should take second place to the institution of marriage?
A: Yes, I was trying to say — I was saying — I meant that I accepted the validity of the arguments of those who disagreed with me, but my answer is yes.
Q: “With some anguish I would choose marriage as a public good over the rights of same sex couples.”
A: Yes, and the whole purpose of my book –
Q: I’m not really interested in the purp –
A: I am exploring in these sentences the context of my arguments. I want you to understand –
Judge: LET’S HAVE A QUESTION AND AN ANSWER
And the Judge even felt compelled to give him a lecture.
Q: You may important points to make –
A: I do actually
Q: But this is not a debate…
A: I’m not trying to debate
Q: Your honor, please instruct the witness to listen to the questions.
WALKER: One thing we say to juries about expert witnesses is to listen to the witness, including the DEMEANOR of the witness, sometimes gauged by his responsiveness to questions. Because I am sure you would not want your demeanor to be a negative while you are on the stand, so please answer Mr Boies questions as he asks them. Your counsel will have a chance to elicit further discussion during redirect, but please answer responsively.
And in case you’re thinking one Mr. Blankenhorn didn’t deserve it, here’s an example of his belligerence.
Q: I want to pursue whether polygamous marriages are consistent with your so-called rule of two –
A: We’re down to so-called?
Q: Well let me ask you question. If a man has five wives –
A: No he has five marriages, each is one man one woman
Q: So is that consistent with your rule of two?
A: Scholars say yes
Q: You are transmitting the words of scholars?
A: You are putting words in my mouth
Q: No I am not
A: Yes I think you are
Q: Okay let’s look at your deposition
A: Well I was trying to base my arguments on scholarship. Other scholars have other views. Ethnographic scholars have made these arguments –
Q: Well I am just addressing whether I put words in your mouth. Just read page 300, you are basing your analysis on highly regarded scholars –
A: THERE’S YOUR MOMENT, I SAID I AM A TRANSMITTER. GOTCHA! THIS IS YOUR MOMENT, I GUESS. If I may say it in my own words
Q: Let me read what you said: “I am not making things up on my own, these are not my own conclusions, I AM A TRANSMITTER OF OTHERS” VIEWS. Did you give that testimony under oath at your deposition?
We also learned that the so called expert had read almost no literature about the subject.
Q: Last three pages are a series of references, see that?
Q: This is a long list, glancing at it, have you rest most or not most?
A By most do you read 50%
Q: Trying to determine whether its easier to list those you have or haven’t, which is faster
A: Have not read at least 51% of these
Q: then tell me what you have NOT read.
A: (deep, deep sigh) Most of these I have not read.
WALKER: Is the question “read” or “not read?”
Q: Read, your honor.
A: Estrich, Goodridge, Johnson, I think. I think those few are the ones I have read.
Q Did you read both of the Estrich?
A Just his book
Q: You’ve read four or perhaps five of the forty listed references here?
A: That’s right
This is how the plaintiffs finished up. The defense asked about 5 questions before resting. I think they knew there was nothing they could say that would make it better.
BO: There’s something here called an abstract. You are familiar with what an abstract is, are you not?
DB: Of course.
BO: Reads that children of same sex couples no different in developmental outcome that children of heterosexual couples. Do you know of this study and other such studies?
BO: There’s no singularly accepted universal definition of marriage? Marriage is constantly evolving?
DB: Yes sir. I wrote those words in my book.
Boies: No further questions, your honor.
And the judge continued being classy.
WALKER: I want to thank the attorneys for pleading, fine work, many younger lawyers in the case here in the courtroom and behind the scenes, you old hands should take great pride and pleasure in their work. You have done a wonderful job on an extraordinary case. I want to congratulate you for the fine work you have done here. Thank you.
Lead Witness for Banning Gay Marriage: I believe that adoption of same sex marriage would be likely to improve the well-being of gay and lesbian households and their children.
This man, Mr. Blankenhorn, is so vitriolically opposed to gay marriage that he’s the primary witness for the defense.
He thinks gay marriage will be good for LGBT and children. And he’s opposed to it??? WHAAAT?!
EDIT: Have another quote for head explosion: We would be more American on the day we legalized gay marriage than the day before.
Again, he is against gay marriage.
The defense (yes on 8 ) called it’s first witness. The Plaintiffs objected because they did not consider him to be an expert.
During the cross, the Plaintiffs got the witness to admit that DADT and DOMA were “Official Discrimination,” caused the Defense council to object that their own witness was not an expert (to much laughter), and, finally, got the witness to say that Prop 8 was discriminatory. The cross isn’t even over yet.
God I wish this was being televised. Rob Reiner better do a heck of a job making it into a film because it could be Inherit the Wind.
Next Monday I start my new gig as the Lead Assistant Editor on a reality show. One that my mother loves and my boyfriend hates… so I guess that’s fair. I will be making more money (yay!) but working 10 more hours a week (boo!). That’s like more than an additional day of hours. And because the reality TV industry isn’t about the whole having unions things, my contract stipulates that OT doesn’t begin til after 50 hours.
Need to set aside time to write. Time in which I’m not allowed to, say, go online at all. This week would be good, since I’m losing 10 hours a week starting next week. The rough thing about 10 hour days is that that’s 2 meals you’ve got to do at work, which is difficult to do. At least on film sets, food is provided. 10 hours, plus an hour to get ready in the morning, an hour of commute, an hour of errands or cooking, 8 hours of sleep, leaves… 4 hours. No more 1 vs 100 on Xbox live for me.
Also, the online test to qualify for Jeopardy is happening this week:
East Coast: January 26th at 8pm ET
Central/Mountain: January 27th at 8pm CT/7pm MT
Pacific Coast: January 28th at 8pm PT
Also wik, Judge Vaughn Walker of the Prop 8 trial might be the funniest human being of all time.
Also also wik, I am debating posting the Opening Scene from my old Maleficent script. I would essentially just have to type it up, but I’m not sure there’s any interest and it’s fairly ridiculous. And no one seemed to be NEARLY EXCITED ENOUGH about the fact that Tim Burton wants to make a MALEFICENT movie. SERIOUSLY YOU GUYS.
Wi not trei a holiday in Sweeden this yer? See the loveli lakes. The wonderful telephone system. And mani interesting furry animals. Including the majestic moose. A moose once bit my sister… No realli! She was Karving her initials on the moose with the sharpened end of an interspace toothbrush given her by Svenge – her brother-in-law – an Oslo dentist and star of many Norwegian movies: “The Hot Hands of an Oslo Dentist”, “Fillings of Passion”, “The Huge Molars of Horst Nordfink”… Mynd you, moose bites Kan be pretti nasti…
Would it be possible for the Supreme Court to declare Prop 8 unconstitutional because it allows some gays to be married but not others, while not actually ruling on the constitutionality of gay marriage in general?
So, I’ve been trying to figure out how I think SCOTUS breaks down for the Prop8 vote. I am going to be fairly optimistic based on the quality of the argument and Olson’s record with SCOTUS up to now. Argued over 50 cases in front of SCOTUS, has won 3/4ths of them, including the decision today that said Corporations have freedom of speech and therefore can spend as much as they want on politics. He’s clearly good at getting SCOTUS to expand rather than deny rights, no matter the public opinion.
Of course, there are 6 Catholics on the bench, and the Catholic Church, along with LDS, was responsible for most of the mobilization in support of Prop 8. Anyway, in my optimism, I think it’s even possible for a 6-3 decision declaring Prop 8 unconstitutional. Of course, 5-4 against is just as possible. No means declaring it unconstitutional, yes is saying prop 8 should stay.
And if anyone has any insight, feel free to post. These are mere conjectures based on what I can find on the interwebs.
Pros: He donated legal to Romer vs. Evans which demanded equal rights for gays in Colorado. Fairly constructionist approach to Constitution, which is how Olson is making his case.
Cons: Catholic, part of the conservative block (though he has broken with them before), really into states rights
Vote: Likely yes, but some foundation for a surprise no
Pros: Staked out the anti-sodomy laws position in the mid-80s as a dissenting opinion, which eventually became the majority position in 2003. Considered part of the liberal block. Not Catholic.
Cons: None that I can find, though there’s nothing suggesting he’s particularly Pro gay marriage either.
Vote: Probably No
Pros: Just the one, he’s a big fan of the Constitution and Olson is making a very very strong argument.
Cons: He hates gay people. He’s the leader of the conservative block. Catholic. And he really hates gay people.
Burn all gay people at the stake Definite Yes.
Pros: Kennedy has often taken a strong stance in favor of expanding Constitutional rights to cover sexual orientation. Though considered conservative, often a swing vote. References foreign law for precedence often.
Cons: Conservative more often than not. Catholic.
Vote: Likely No
Cons: Extremely conservative. Extremely into states rights. Performed a wedding for Rush Limbaugh. Even Scalia thinks he’s way too far to the right, “I am an originalist, but I am not a nut.” Super into religion, and thinks that religion should be allowed to be a lot more involved in public life. He also hates the gays.
Vote: Not just Yes, but a Yes to the RIGHT of Scalia
Pros: She is awesome and my favorite. (Also liberal, pro-choice, pro-gay)
Pros: Liberal. Refers to foreign law. Seems to like the gays.
Cons: None that I’m aware of.
Pros: Was against anti-sodomy laws well before the court, but also was a student.
Cons: Conservative. Known as “Scalito”, though definitely to the left of Scalia. Catholic.
Vote: Almost certain Yes… but maybe…
Pros: Some of the anti-Hispanic rhetoric exhibited by the yes on 8ers will probably not make her think highly of them. She lives in Greenwich village. Considered an ally, though little to support this.
Vote: Likely no, little to go on though.
4 extremely likely nos, 1 probable no
3 almost certain yeses, 1 most likely yes