Wednesday, August 18, 2010

[SDCPJ] FW: [isosandiego] Open Letter to the Community: Why We Are Sitting In Tomorrow (FORWARD WIDELY)


 
I read a draft of this letter at our meeting to 16 members present, and was asked to make it an open letter to the public.  Please forward WIDELY for SAME:

As we hope you have already heard, members of SAME and others in our community are rallying to the side of our friends Tyler & Tony Dylan-Hyde, and Michael Anderson & Brian Baumgardner, and anyone else wanting to get married on Thursday morning (tomorrow) at 8:00am to demand that the clerk issue the licenses entitled to them under California law once the stay on Judge Walker's decision is lifted tonight at 5:00pm. But many may be confused about what our real objective is—Do we really think we're going to get these people married?

I've received calls from people in the community who had the mistaken assumption that we are going in to the Clerk's Office on Thursday with the intention and desire to get arrested by San Diego County Sheriffs. Certainly we are aware that by challenging the clerks to exercise a right that appears for some to still be in legal limbo means that authorities may feel entitled to arrest us for "disturbing the peace", or some other ironically-named charge. And of course it is the case that getting arrested has resulted in needed attention for civil rights in the past and even in our present time. But it is not our objective to be arrested on Thursday afternoon. What we want is to force open the floodgates of civil rights for same-sex couples, so that our friends Tyler & Tony, and Brian & Michael and anyone else who wishes, can be allowed to get their licenses on that day.

Who says we can? For us, the question is rather who says we can't. Numerous sources have cited the fact that nowhere in the law does it specify that the Attorney General and Governor, who have emphatically refused to defend Prop 8, must be compelled to comply with a stay by a higher-circuit court while our opposition is given a chance to prove that they have the standing to make an appeal to Judge Walker's decision. If anything, some legal precedent seems to indicate that the state of California has the right and duty to enforce its own laws while a court of appeals holds hearings to determine any standing by any parties opposing a legal decision.

When Prop 8 passed, same-sex marriages stopped immediately. There was no "stay" on the new ban, even while the ACLU pursued our case to challenge Prop 8's constitutionality to the California Supreme Court (filed the very day after the passage of Prop 8, on November 5, 2008). It seems to us that while the National Organization for Marriage pursues its appeal to the 9th Circuit Court, our state's clerks have no reason to continue to deny Californians our rights to equal protection under the law, and our access to the same civil right to marriage. On the contrary, they should begin granting marriage licenses, as Judge Walker's decision so clearly mandates, as soon as his stay is lifted on Thursday.

That's why SAME members, and others in the community with us, are going in to the Clerk's Office at 8:00am this Thursday: Our objective is to persuade the clerks in San Diego and everywhere else in the state to comply with Judge Walker's August 4th ruling, and begin issuing marriage licenses immediately. We invite the community to join us; the bigger we are, the stronger. Let's get Brian & Michael, and Tyler & Tony married, and let's do it now. As has been repeated over and over in the last weeks, the opposition has been unable to provide any evidence that heterosexual couples are harmed by same-sex couples' right to marry. So what are we waiting for?

In the words of SAME member Gabe Conaway last year, "We're not here to break the law--but there's a law here that's breaking us." Those of us going in tomorrow need your support.  There will also be a rally outside on the West side of the County Administration Building.  Join us in rallying or sitting in by RSVP'd to our facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=125874937458223&ref=mf. For details and a legal debrief about sitting in with us, contact Michael Anderson at 954-648-1984.

Cecile Veillard, President
San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality

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