Timeline of California Proposition 8 – Ban on Gay Marriage

The Proposition 8 lawsuit is an interesting case. The case reached the Supreme Court by ways of proponents of the proposition who were unsatisfied with the lower courts decision.

To clarify how this case made its way up the ranks, here’s a quick timeline of Prop 8.

November, 2008 – Proposition 8 passes on a statewide ballot measure in California. It immediately bars gays and lesbians from marrying in the state.

Immediately after – Hollingsworth v. Perry case filed. Perry was one of the lesbian couples refused a marriage certificate in Alameda County. They served as the plaintiffs in the case.

The state of California, under the auspices of Attorney General Jerry Brown and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger decided the state would not defend the proposition. This essentially created a peculiar situation, the government abandoned its own law based on the predisposition that it itself is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In this void, private citizens argued, and were accepted by the court, to serve as defendant of the case. ProtectMarriage.com, lead by Dennis Hollingsworth, became the defendants in the case.

… after months of battling…

August 4, 2010 – U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker overturned Proposition 8, stating it is “…unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause because no compelling state interest justifies denying same-sex couples the fundamental right to marry.”

Now is when things get interesting. In all this drama, Imperial County in California was arguing to act as a defendant (as it is a government body) for the case. They were denied.

The defendants of the case appealed Judge Walker’s decision and the case move up to federal courts (from the district court).

February 7, 2012 – The Ninth Circuit (aka, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit) issued a divided three judge ruling that upheld the decision of the district court. It did so on narrower grounds than the District Court did.

June 5, 2012 – the Ninth Circuit denied a request for a rehearing en banc. En banc is a legal term that means a case that is heard before all judges of the court. In this case, it means all judges that sit on the Ninth Circuit, not just the panel of three judges that hear a case.

July 31, 2012 – Proponents of Proposition 8 appealed the case (now in the current form of Hollingsworth v. Perry) to the U.S. Supreme Court.

What’s important to note here is that anti-prop 8 supporters asked the Supreme Court to not hear the case. Why? Because the Supreme Court would have the power to overturn the ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court and declare the proposition legal.

December 7, 2012 – SCOTUS orders the parties involved to be briefed over additional question of whether supporters of Prop. 8 have standing, that is, a legal right to be involved in the case, under Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

March 13, 2013 – The Supreme Court hears arguments in the case.

June 26, 2013 – The Supreme Court issues a decision, 5-4, that it does not have the right to hear the case based on the technicality that the state has not adequately defended the case. It essentially rules in favor of the lower courts.

Thanks for Your Support for the SOPA Blackout Protest

Just a thanks to you readers who supported our blackout to protest SOPA and PIPA. More than 4.6 million people signed the Google petition alone.

And Twitter.com CEO Dick Costolo, said Wikipedia’s blackout is: “… just silly. Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish.” Who’s foolish now poop head?

Should these laws ever go into effect, even if rewritten, sites like mine may never see the light of day again. Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, WordPress, and even Google will have one hellava of a time.

But, first a public service announcement from Senator Chris Dodd, president of the MPAA {Motion Picture Association of America}:
“Only days after the White House and chief sponsors of the legislation responded to the major concern expressed by opponents and then called for all parties to work cooperatively together, some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging.

It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.

A so-called “blackout” is yet another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals. It is our hope that the White House and the Congress will call on those who intend to stage this “blackout” to stop the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy.”

I never knew Hollywood hated gimmicks!

For more reading about the United States Congressional bills titled HR 3261 and S968, visit:

Learn More

Information on H.R.3261 – Stop Online Piracy Act at OpenCongress.org

EFF Blacklist

Information on S.968 PROTECT IP Act at OpenCongress.org

In Fight Over Piracy Bills, New Economy Rises Against Old

Reddit /r/SOPA FAQ

Problematic language in the bill pointed out by a redditor.

Video examination of bill’s language.

Get Involved

Electronic Frontier Foundation: Petititon to Stop SOPA Legislation

List of companies that have expressed support for SOPA or PIPA.

List of companies that have expressed concern with SOPA and PIPA.

Take Action Checklist at Stop American Censorship.

Contact Your Representative with info and a widget to find them by EFF and Wired for Change.

Directory of Representatives

Senators of the 112th Congress

Helpful info on making phone calls to your Senator or Representative.

SOPAOpera.org keeps track of where your Congressmembers stand on PROTECT-IP and SOPA.

And a very funny but serious video about the consequences of these laws. Thanks to A for sending it to me.

The irony if this video is taken down for copyright violation.

Dangerous Body Butters at a Store Near You

I love TheLocal.se. LOVE that newspaper. Basically they take Swedish news, translate it (through google translator), add opinions (because real news deserves opinions), check if the translated article and opinions make sense, and post. Voilà! You have a news worthy piece for the English audience in Sweden.

And then, The Local writes intense, heavy news articles about chocolate, STDs, speeding tickets, gay parties, and drunk people. But this latest article is the icing on the cake.

The Örebro municipality’s crime prevention unit visited The Body Shop to inform the lotion company that its posters gratuitously displaying the leaf of the Cannabis sativa plant (industrial hemp), was not acceptable.

Body butters + photo of a industrial hemp leaf = Drug promotion for teenagers

What on earth??

I know. Sweden has a lot of problems. Children see Pripps Blå commercials and immediately become beer drinking alcoholics on boats. Oh wait, they do that!

For a country that has one of the largest drug crime prevention units per capita, Swedes must be terrified of The Body Shop’s lotions. And for some idiots, industrial hemp, indica, must be the same as the marijuana plant leaf. That’s why it is legal to cultivate thousands of hectors of industrial hemp in more than 30 countries.

Karin Wickberg Taylar, press spokesperson for The Body Shop Sweden, said, “They (the Örebro municipal) argued that the use of the hemp leaf in the posters was offensive and provocative and that it undermined their work to tackle youth drug abuse.”

But yes, I understand. In a country dealing with political upheaval across the spectrum and racially inclined shootings in Malmö, the most important thing for a crime department to concentrate on is: photos of a plant leaf promoting moisturized skin.

Maybe that IS the enemy. Moisturized skin. Soft, supple, beautiful skin. The Swedish government doesn’t want us to know about body butters and other illicit lotions, lest the Swedes become even more sexy.

Some of the comments from the article were off the charts hilarious. I had to post them.

“Swedish customs agents are nabbing more body butter smugglers than in past years, and people traveling across the Öresund Bridge with small amounts of body butter figure prominently in the statistics.

Remember kids body butter kills! Just say NO!” — Soft Boiled

“”sweedy82: Because don’t you know, all drugs are bad. If you want to relax the only drug anyone should take is the one that’s Swede-accepted and Government approved; by buying overpriced and overtaxed booze from the monopolized stores that carry little selection – so big daddy gets his chunk of your cash.

Anything else is evil and unsafe.” — ISayWhatPeopleThink

“Yet alcohol is shown on Swedish TV programs all the time. Alcohol kills way more people in one day than have died of marijuana use since the days of Adam.

This is not conservatism or liberalism — it is just an insignificant municipality without any sense of perspective.” — Rebel

Next time you put lotion on, just think, are you taking a gateway drug?

Sweden Most Effective at Governing & Law – I Think Not

It is that time of the year of the again when international bodies release data about the #1 country for gender equality or cleanest place to live or best place for dogs.

Now, the World Justice Project’s 2010 Rule of Law Index ranks Sweden as number 1 in five of the nine categories. These are: government accountability, absence of corruption, clear and stable laws, open government, and regulatory enforcement.

I am well aware that Sweden is one of the best countries to live. It is the land of Volvo, Ikea and Swedish waffles. But while I have been happiest here, I today, find certain aspects of Swedish life hard to digest.

  • Sweden is safe. No, violent crimes, rape, and petty theft are rising fastest in Sweden.
  • Regulatory enforcement – ie. the Swedish government works. Oh the Swedish government works so well that the average murder sentence is 7 years. If you are lucky can train to be a doctor while in prison (no Swedish papers covered this), get only 1 year for murdering a friend, or never be arrested for beating an innocent person with a gun. That’s right folks, rule of law works!
  • Government accountability – Sweden is friendly to immigrants and it’s easy to assimilate. Well, Sveriges Demokraterna has unearthed the skeletons from the Swedish cupboards.
  • Absence of CorruptionRenting an apartment is corrupt free. Because the government turns its eye away from the rental market system it keeps its hands clean. That’s right, text message bidding and vying for black market secondhand rental contracts is corrupt free.
    Oh, did I mention a real estate agent represents BOTH the seller and the buyer?? And the Swedish government was responsible for billions in renovation and building projects during the 1960-1980s? We all know that the real estate market and construction are the “cleanest” industries.
  • Clear and stable laws – Swedes have tough driver’s license exam therefore “they are better drivers.” The Swedish country aside, Stockholm has some of the worst drivers I have ever seen in a developed economy. Running red lights, making illegal turns, refusing to yield to pedestrians, overtaking police cars are some reasons why Stockholm drivers are rarely pulled over by traffic cops. Wait?! Where the hell are the traffic cops??
  • Open government – Systembolaget protects you from alcohol. The government does not want you drinking. The taxman also wants to make more money. Solution: sell evil alcohol with 200% tax rate and everyone wins! Create a governing board structure that is so complex that no one knows who runs this entity. As a good samaritan, when drinking is most prevalent (weekends, Midsommer, Christmas), pass out flyers and advertise on TV that drinking too much is bad.

I still brag that Sweden is a wonderful place to live; with caveats. My glass shattered back in Jan when my husband was beaten. That warm, fuzzy feeling of Swedish life disappeared. Justice and law failed us when we most desperately needed closure.

Sweden is not perfect, and my hope is that we strive for society becomes safer, more open, and easier to live in; not the other way around.