Tag Archives: Perry

U.S. Appeals: Prop 8 trial tapes to remain sealed

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Feb. 2 decided not to unseal the video record of the trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown).

The Perry case is a federal constitutional challenge to Proposition 8, the voter-approved amendment that banned same-sex marriage in California. In a landmark August 2010 ruling, a U.S. District Court ruled that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.

The ruling is on appeal.

Meanwhile, the Ninth Circuit has issued a ruling on the question of whether video from the trial should be unsealed.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights, filers of the Perry case, argued that the tapes should be public under First Amendment and common law.

Proponents of Prop 8, the defendants in the case, argued for secrecy, claiming that public viewing might expose their witnesses to harassment.

Last September, U.S. District Chief Judge James Ware agreed with AFER’s argument, ruling for the release of the tapes and emphasizing, “Transparency is pivotal to public perception of the judiciary’s legitimacy and independence.”  

“We think Chief Judge Ware had it right, but we are looking at the big picture and hoping for a ruling soon on the merits affirming the district court’s judgment that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional,” said AFER attorney Theodore J. Boutrous Jr.

A coalition of media companies – Los Angeles Times, CNN, The New York Times, FOX News, NBC News, Dow Jones & Co. and The Associated Press – joined the call for unsealing the tapes.

A number of civil rights groups also sought a release.

“In our minds, it never made sense that transcripts from the hearing could be easily accessed by anyone but not the videotapes,” said Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign. “That just proves that our cowardly opponents knew they did a poor job defending their bigotry and homophobia in court. We sincerely hope this decision does not herald more bad news regarding the unconstitutionality of Prop 8. Lives are depending on it.”

Candidates reaffirm opposition to marriage equality

The Republicans campaigning for their party’s nomination defended their opposition to marriage equality in a pre-primary debate in New Hampshire.

“We are completely disgusted by virtually the entire GOP field which panders to prejudice and bows to anti-gay bigotry,” said Truth Wins Out executive director Wayne Besen. “The unabashed extremism witnessed in this debate is a disgrace and an embarrassment to both the Republican Party and to this nation.”

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum advocated an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman and outlawed same-sex marriages, currently legal in D.C. and six states.

“If the Constitution says marriage is between a man and a woman, then marriage is between a man and a woman,” Santorum said. “Those who are not men and women and are married would not be married.”

Santorum, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich alleged that legalizing civil marriage for gays and lesbians infringed on religious liberties.

Perry said the marriage equality push is “a war against religion.”

And Gingrich, who divorced twice after adulterous affairs and is in his third marriage, said he opposed marriage for gays and celebrated “the sacrament of marriage.” Gingrich, Romney and Jon Huntsman do support some form of partnership recognition for same-sex couples.

Same-sex couples can marry in New Hampshire, but there is a legislative campaign to repeal the law.

Betting company lists Romney as favorite in Iowa

There may be a lot of undecided voters headed to the precincts, but all bets are not off in today’s Iowa Caucuses.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the clear favorite in the polls and also with odds makers.

Paddy Power, an Irish betting company, says Romney is available at “evens” with his nearest challengers – libertarian Texas Congressman Ron Paul and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum – both available at 2/1.

Further down the betting, former front-runners for the Republican nomination Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry are at 20/1 and 33/1.

Underdogs Michele Bachmann is at 50/1 and Jon Huntsman is at 100/1.

Romney also is the favorite for the GOP nomination, with odds of 2/5, followed by Paul at 7/1 and Gingrich at 8/1.

A surge in support over the past week has seen Santorum odds cut from 20/1 to 14/1, while Perry continues to slide and is now a 33/1 longshot.

The company also is offering odds on the next president – the victor in November – with Barack Obama at 
7/4, Romney at 
12/1, Gingrich at 
14/1 and Paul
 at 20/1.

The odds put 2008 Democratic primary challenger Hillary Rodham Clinton before the remaining GOP candidates at
 33/1, followed by Huntsman
at 50/1, Santorum at 
50/1, Perry 
at 80/1 and Bachman 
at 125/1.

Michele Bachmann says China should be U.S. model for social programs

Apparently unaware that China is a socialist dictatorship, Michele Bachmann advised American leaders to use the county as a model for social programs in the United States.

Bachmanns bizarre statement came during last night’s presidential debate, which was broadcast on CBS.

Contrasting Chinese policies with those in the U.S. since the time of President Lyndon Johnson, Bachmann said, “If you look at China, they don’t have food stamps.”

She added: “They save for their own retirement security, they don’t have AFDC (Aid to Families With Dependent Children), they don’t have the modern welfare state, and China’s growing … and so what I would do is look at the programs that LBJ gave us, with the Great Society, and they’d be gone.”

Except for Ron Paul and Jon Hunstman, none of the Republican presidential candidates has foreign policy experience, which was the subject of last night’s debate. The lack of expertise led to a discussion that critics said was far from substantive.

Gov. Rick Perry pleased the Republican crowd by saying he would defend the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture “until I die.”

Perry also created a stir by saying that he would start all foreign aid “at zero,” including U.S. foreign aid to Israel.

Mitt Romney initially backed Perry’s idea of starting aid to all countries at zero, but after the debate his campaign said he did not mean to include Israel.

Editorial: The GOP’s monster has seized the castle

It’s becoming difficult for voters of good conscience to identify with the Republican brand. If the GOP presidential debates continue in the spirit they’ve begun, by the time November 2012 creeps around there will be few decent people left willing to identify publicly as party members. 

At a California debate last month, Texas Gov. Rick Perry bragged that he had lost no sleep over signing off on 234 executions – more than any other governor in modern history. The crowd erupted into cheers. It was like a scene from “Gladiator.”

At the next debate in Tampa, Ron Paul was asked who should pay when a young person needs expensive intensive care but has no health insurance. The congressman replied, “That’s what freedom’s all about, taking your own risks.”

“But, Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?” moderator Wolf Blitzer asked.

“Yeah,” shouted several people in the audience – and the crowd followed up with a round of applause. 

Interestingly, Paul and his followers don’t believe freedom includes a woman’s right to get rid of a mass of cells dividing in her womb due to insemination from a male, even if that male raped her. They believe the woman should be forced by law to bear the child those cells eventually become.

It is only after the child has been born and cannot afford health insurance that Paul and his crowd believe that freedom entails policies resulting in his or her preventable death.

At the next debate in Florida, a few members of the audience booed an active-duty gay soldier who appeared on screen via YouTube to ask whether the GOP contenders would reverse the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” 

The obsessively anti-gay Rick Santorum, in a rambling answer, said that repealing the policy had undermined the military. The audience nearly drowned him out with cheers and applause directed against an active-duty service member risking his life for their freedom.

It’s bad enough that the Republican audiences bear more resemblance to lynch mobs than forums of civilized debate. But the most troubling aspect of these debacles is the near-total silence it has elicited from the candidates.

Republican leaders have spawned the Frankenstein monster that their followers have become with decades of hateful, deceitful talk radio and Fox News incitements. Now the monster has taken charge of the castle and its creators are captives in a horror film of their own making.

If GOP candidates stand up to the grassroots maniacs, they’ll be instantly tossed from the nearest turret. So they’re forced to stand fully exposed as the shameless, amoral panderers they are.

Despite all the GOP’s expensively produced and finely tuned propaganda aimed at turning Americans into eager serfs for the super-class, we are still by and large a fair and moderate people. We have solid values and crave strong, intelligent and moral leadership.