Alex Blaze

Kate Kendell talks Prop 8... what do we do now?

Filed By Alex Blaze | March 30, 2009 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: California, gay marriage, judges, lesbian, LGBT, marriage, marriage equality, Prop. 8, same-sex marriage, supreme court

Bilerico contributor Kate Kendell talked with the Dallas Voice about the chances of winning the challenge to Prop 8:

"We're going to lose," said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, one of the organizations that filed the lawsuit challenging Prop 8.

"I think it was very clear from the oral arguments that the court intends to uphold Prop 8," Kendell added. "I've never seen a court so unequivocally telegraph their thinking." [...]

Kendell also said that she expects the court to affirm the validity of the roughly 18,000 same-sex marriages performed in California before voters approved Prop 8 in November. But she said the decision to affirm the marriages "requires no courage" from the court because the law is clear on that issue.

Predicting court decisions is normally a "risky proposition," Kendell said. However, due to California's 90-day deadline, which sets it apart from most states, justices frequently make up their minds prior to oral arguments.

"On this issue, with this court, they seem almost to intentionally communicate how they're planning to rule," Kendell said. "The only way they can get an opinion out in 90 days is if there's already a draft opinion."

I suspect she's right, although we can always hold out hope.

So what's the strategy now, folks?

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i really wish our leaders would wait for decisions to get made before calling it. if the court was on the fence, they now know it's safe for them to uphold prop 8 because our leaders have conceded.

Kate Kendell | March 30, 2009 5:58 PM

I still have hope the Court will do what is right. It is impossible to reconcile the landmark ruling this Court gave us last year in the marriage case with a ruling that upholds Prop 8. Any ruling which keeps Prop 8 alive is an insult to the very decision this Court made when it ruled that same-sex couples had a right to marry. If we win, we celebrate and fight to keep that victory, if we lose we work tirelessly to change the hearts and minds of the 4% of voters who made the difference in our loss on Prop 8.

Kate Kendell | March 30, 2009 6:43 PM

I am hopeful the Court will rule our way. It is impossible to reconcile the Court's ruling last year in the marriage case with a ruling upholding Prop 8. Any ruling which keeps Prop 8 alive is an insult to this landmark marriage ruling and to the principles of equality it so eloquently articulated. If the Court invalidates Prop 8, we celebrate and work to support the Court. If we lose, we work to change the hearts and minds of the 4% of California voters who made the difference on Prop 8.

How about we refuse to support organizations that foster the mentality that got Prop 8 passed in the first place, specifically the No on 8 committee.

But then again, that would include Ms. Kendall.

And about 20 other organisations, Chuck. Let's look beyond post-mortems on our own strategy of the past, because so far we have blamed people of colour, Lesbians, conserva-queers, Mormons, Catholics, then-Candidate Obama, Transgender people, and so on.

Kate, thanks for what you have done and what you continue to do.

What do we need to do? What we did after the out, be loud and be very, very visible. Be strong, look like we are a force to be reconed with.....and keep doing it, over and over, til we win...

Maura, I agree, that list includes around 20 other people. And those who expect change would be wise to demand their resignations before giving them any more funding.

I didn't blame any of the other groups you mentioned. I was quite adamant as far back as last summer that the No on 8 Committee was doing an abysmal job. Even more tragic, hundreds of others with actual pull and influence were saying the same thing.

The No on 8 Committee marginalized and shut out those folks. Now there needs to be a reckoning. One "cannot look past post-mortems" when the victim is still very much alive, and the tumor is still in the body. The "strategy of the past" is still alive and well with Ms. Kendall and others, and shows no sign of changing.

If this was a corporate enterprise, Ms. Kendall would be coming to the government for a handout and Obama would be asking for her resignation. Her "post-mortem" excuses are as lame as the auto execs. In my opinion, she and her fellow committee members should do the honorable thing and resign, rather than hold onto to their cush 200k jobs that have no resulting benefit for the GLBT community.

If we do not REVOLT (if PROP 8 stands), then I question if we truly BELIEVE we deserve these rights in the first place. Seriously. We're dealing with our own family's SAFETY and SECURITY for God's sake. Isn't that worth MORE than calling in Gay For A Day?! We SHOULD have took to the streets the millisecond our government allowed a VOTE on our family's legal worth.

But I'm sure we will return to holding Equality Fundraisers so we can "Pay Off The Bully", play the victim, and act as if we need to convince others of our legal worth BEFORE attaining Full Federal Equality. Our collective Q mental health is questionable, given what science has discovered about brain development in children and the kind of social environment they NEED to grow up well-balanced and healthy. It's a miracle most of us make it out of high school without suicide. Often the most "balanced"-appearing Queer is hiding a borderline personality disorder; or worse. As a group we collectively have some serious self-esteem issues based on HOW we have fought inequality for the past 30 years.


If it passes, we're fucked. Where else have you seen a marriage amendment repealed? They will remain for years.

The people that voted for it will not change their minds. We'll just have to wait for the influx of younger voters.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | March 31, 2009 10:58 AM

As I've said in commenting on Kate's later post {"Waiting for Reckoning Day"), an over-reliance on the courts on the false notion that somehow they are capable of declaring unconstitional popularly enacted constitutional amendments is short-sighted. Ultimately, "the people", through their elected representatives in Congress and in 3/4 of the state legislatures could enact things like the Federal Marriage Amendment, and unless the Supreme Court is about to to hold that statements in the Declaration of Independence trump the federal Constitution, the "popular will" will have governed in the end. Hence, ultimately, winning in the voting booth is far more superior and secure than admiring flowing judicial robes.

Whether by a large majority, or slim margin as with Prop 8 and FL's Amendment 2, citizens rights should not be dictated by ones personal or religious beliefs. The sole purpose of our courts are to protect each Americans equal rights as our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights supposedly guarantees. Society as a whole moves forward, the days of wives considered property, forced to ride in the back of the bus, woman's right to vote and the list goes on are over, as they should be. I watched the video of the California Supreme Court Prop 8 hearing ( was disheartening to see the Justices ask questions that seemed to be leading toward validating Prop 8. However, one can only hope the court will follow our forefathers principle of "equal protection under the law", by ruling their original decision will stand.

People from around the country are organizing actions for the night the courts ruling is announced. Whether for a celebration or to console each other, we must remain a visible presence for equality not matter comes our way. Organize an action in your city:

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | March 31, 2009 5:52 PM

"However, one can only hope the court will follow our forefathers principle of "equal protection under the law", by ruling their original decision will stand."

There isn't an "original decision" here to stand or fall. This is a case over interpretation of a PROCEDURAL aspect of the California constitution, namely whether Proposition 8 was an "amendment" rather than a "revision".

That's not to diminish its importance or impact. But in "flyover country" states like Indiana, the right wing has already characterized the case as on in which the "unelected activist judges" may be ready to enforce its authority over "the popular will" at any cost. They would like to have people think that no constitutional amendment process is immune from being judicially overturned by power-hungry judges. When we are't careful to understand and describe what the awaited California decision is and what it isn'twe just end up reinforcing them.