Thursday, April 19, 2007

Splash for Equality

This Sunday, April 22, Faces (the famed Sacramento gay nightclub) will be hosting a fundraiser for Equality California.

Better than just another Sacramento political fundraiser, it's a pool party!

"The California Equality Project is a coalition of over 30 statewide and national groups who have joined for a public education campaign, reaching out to California's residents. Currently, we have been going door to door in Northern California to educate folks about the rights, responsibilities, and benefits of marriage that many Gay and Lesbian couples would like to have the choice to fully and equally enjoy."
The Party's on Sunday, April 22 at Faces (on the corner of K and 20th in Midtown Sacramento) from 2pm to 6pm.

From what I hear, this is the place to be this Sunday! Three of my favorite things: Drinks, Politics, and Boys!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Leno on Top!

The feud in SF is heating up! While their colleagues are waiting to put their support behind a winning horse, Assemblyman Leno and Senator Migden are in a no-holds-barred fight in Frisco.

Both are currently working to gain support among Democratic Party activists in San Francisco. The first major endorsement went to the challenger, Mark Leno. The Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club of San Francisco, a Gay-Rights organization similar to the Stonewall Democrats, voted on Monday to offer an early endorsement to Leno. Later in the week, Leno and Migden appeared before the San Francisco Young Democrats for an endorsement debate.

The organization overwhelmingly voted to lend its support to Assemblyman Mark Leno over Senator Carole Migden.

According to the Bay Area Reporter, the debate featured a critcism of Migden's famed "Ghost Voting" incident of 2005. Miggy's response: "It was an error. We apologized. It happens all the time in the Assembly. I am proud of the product, not of the error." Leno retorted that never before had a senator ghost voted on the Assembly floor and that Migden's responses signaled an "any means to an end" approach to politics.

The Bay Area Reporter has excellent coverage of the debate. It is clear, though, that the best quotes of the night came early in the opening statements.

Leno: "We've worked together and I need your support now. We have the same mission: to challenge the status quo and fight for change. I am the best choice for change."

Migden: "My name is Carole Migden and I am the status quo."

Gender Neutral Marriage?

Assemblyman Mark Leno of San Francisco reintroduced his Gay Marriage bill this year. This week, it made its first major progress in the 2007-2008 legislative session.

On Tuesday, April 10, Assembly Bill 43 was heard in the Assembly Committee on Judiciary. After a heated discussion with passionate witnesses on both sides, the bill was passed on a 7-3 vote.

In favor were Assemblymembers Evans, Feuer, Jones, Krekorian, Laird, Levine, and Lieber. In opposition were Tran, Adams, and Keene. This constituted a strict party-line vote with Democrats in support and Republicans in opposition.

While marriage is the last real legislative inequality faced by Gays and Lesbians in California, this bill isn't the magic pill that will cure our problems. Even if this bill is passed and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger (who has indicated he will veto it on the same grounds he used last year), Gay Marriage in California would require a vote of the people or a ruling of the courts to be granted.

The Knight Initiative, Prop 22, banned same sex marriage. Specifically, Section 308.5 of the California Family Code states, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Because those words were added by an initiative passed by a majority of voters, it would require an act of the voters to remove those words--an act of the Legislature would be insufficient to repeal the Knight Initiative.

However, although Prop 22 seems clear under a first reading, it is actually quite ambiguous. Section 300, et. seq of the Family Code seem to be clearly arranged in a specific order. Section 300 governs the definition of marriage as a relationship arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman. Subsequent sections govern the solemnization of marriage. Section 308 clarifies that marriages contracted outside of California are valid in this state.

It is possible, therefore, that Section 308.5 is really a subsection of 308 intended to prevent California from recognizing same-sex marriages obtained outside of this state.

Supporting this case, the ballot arguments in support of Proposition 22 focused on marriages from other states. For example, it was stated in the proponents' arguments: "Opponents say Proposition 22 is unnecessary. THE TRUTH IS, UNLESS WE PASS PROPOSITION 22, LEGAL LOOPHOLES COULD FORCE CALIFORNIA TO RECOGNIZE 'SAME-SEX MARRIAGES' PERFORMED IN OTHER STATES."

While AB 43 may not be the magic, cure-all pill for marriage equality, it can't hurt our cause in California. The Legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger would do well to pass and sign this bill into law. Still, it is the Court that should immediately interpret the meaning of Prop 22 and the constitutionality of any Gay Marriage ban in California. The rights of millions of Californians hang in the balance.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

ASUC Endorsements

Please accept my apologies for not posting my endorsements sooner, but I was giving as much time as possible to allow for candidates to return my endorsement surveys.

And the endorsements go to….

For President: Travis “SEO” Garcia

While I don’t expect Garcia to actually win this race and would have recommended that he also file to run for a Senate seat, he does bring to the table the best possible platform. Most importantly, this is the only candidate that is free from the baggage of both the Gabriel Legacy and CalSERVE’s history.

For Executive Vice President: Taylor Allbright

Taylor Allbright has a long history of working across party lines to serve students. After her first (failed) senate campaign, Allbright still worked within the system as a student leader. Moreover, this is the only candidate running that I believe actually knows what she is getting into if she were to win. Senator Allbright knows the ASUC structure, knows what students want, and knows how to get the projects done.

For Academic Affairs Vice President: Carolina “Caro” Jauregui

Jauregui lists specific, tangible goals to benefit the student body—namely restoring dead days and the drop deadline. For a long time, these were the goals of Student Action. Unfortunately, SA seems to have forgotten the role of the various officers and Curtis Lee seems to only list the constitutional duties of the AAVP as his campaign platform.

For External Affair Vice President: Justin “Screw Residents” Azadivar

Azadiver, otherwise known as Beetle, has the longest history of advocating for students in Berkeley. Also, his goal of world domination is infinitely more attainable than those of his opponents. Making use of a ridiculously liberal student organization (UCSA) or even more liberal city council (Berkeley City Council) is useless as nobody will take either entity seriously. Likewise, it is laughable to think that this office can clean the streets of Berkeley and make them safe—EAVP candidates have run on that platform for over a decade now and all have failed.

For Senate:
137. Alex Mastrodonato, Apple Engineering
95. Chad “Big Axe” Kunert, Berkeley College Republicans
70. Marybeth Moore, Unite Greek

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Hot Blooded Latina to Speak with Gay Republicans

Republican Assemblymember Bonnie Garcia will be making a visit to the Sacramento chapter of Log Cabin Republicans. She will be the keynote speaker for the regularly scheduled April meeting. This announcement comes on the heels of a report pubished by the California Log Cabin Republicans listing the "Gay factor" in Republican Assembly Districts throughout the state.

Palm Springs, which is a part of Garcia's Assembly District 80 is the gayest city in California, according to the report.

Garcia made headlines last year when she narrowly won reelection after Governor Schwarzenegger referred to her as a "Hot Blooded Latina" and she commented that she wouldn't throw the Governor out of bed. She is also well known in Sacramento circles for her wild, exuberant personality and sense of humor.

The Log Cabin Republicans meeting will be on Wednesday, April 25 at 7pm at Carrow's Restaurant (2800 J Street, Sacramento).

Cameron Smyth, GOP Stud

As regular visitors to the Land of Fruits and Nuts will remember, last January I came up with a list of the best dressers in the California legislature. Topping that list was freshman Assemblyman, Cameron Smyth. This week, Smyth's fashion sense hit the news again. It seems I am not the only one watching legislative floor sessions as if they were red carpet specials hosted by Joan Rivers.

As a fundraiser for the YMCA model legislature, several members of the legislature participated in a Capitol version of Family Feud. On the Dem side were Senators Jenny Oropeza and Darrell Steinberg and Assemblymembers John Laird, Betty Karnette, and Laura Richardson. In the GOP family were Assemblymembers Bonnie Garcia, Greg Agharzarian, John Benoit, Roger Niello, and Senator Dick Ackerman. Members of both houses of the legislature were surveyed for the most popular responses to several questions. For example, members of the legislature were polled to determine the best dressed male. Top responses were 1. Mark Leno, 2. Cameron Smyth, and 3. Gil Cedillo.

Once again, Smyth gets recognition for being the leading GOP fashion icon.

Other interesting responses from the survey were top restaurants (1.Morton's, 2. Lucca's, 3. McCormick and Schmick's), best dressed woman (1. Asm Mimi Walters, 2. Asm Patty Berg, 3. Asm Nicole Parra), and funniest senator (1. George Runner, 2. Don Perata, 3. Dave Cox).

For the record, the Republicans won the contest and showed that they are more in touch with the general sentiment of the Legislature. The final score: Reps 19, Dems 14.