Dear Marriage Supporter:
The biggest news for marriage this week comes out of California.
This past Tuesday, the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the question:
Do the proponents of Proposition 8 (Protect Marriage) have special standing under California law to speak for Proposition 8 in court?
Watch those oral arguments here.
The Federal Ninth Circuit referred the question of standing to the California Supreme Court after the California attorney general and the governor both declined to defend Proposition 8 in federal court.
If Protect Marriage lacks standing, then Judge Walker's decision will stand, not because the federal courts have decided Ted Olson's arguments are right, but because no one is in court contesting his arguments.
That stinks to high heaven.
Seven million Californians will have their votes invalidated because two elected officials are unwilling to defend the law.
The good news is the California Supreme Court appears to agree that this is rather smelly.
There are two separate questions before the California Supreme Court:
Do the proponents of a ballot initiative like Proposition 8 have a particularized interest—a claim to injury—if the courts invalidate that initiative?
I cannot speak for Protect Marriage, which was ably defended in court by Chuck Cooper.
NOM California, a ballot initiative committee, is widely credited with getting Proposition 8 on the ballot by providing the early seed money—more than a million dollars.
But at NOM we agreed not to assert an independent interest in court but to accept Protect Marriage's lead in defending Proposition 8.
I can tell you, nonetheless, on this question it feels personal.
In December of 2008, I moved my wife and kids to my home state of California in order to fight for the right of California voters to defend marriage.
It takes an enormous amount of work and effort to qualify an initiative on the ballot in California.
The people who did and do this are not just like any other voters or taxpayers. They fought—and fought hard—to put a question before California voters. Speaking personally, it would be a great injury to our work if it were invalidated by the state attorney general.
The right to propose an initiative means little if the liberal attorney general can nullify that right by refusing to defend it in court.
The second important legal question is whether the ballot proponents have the right to assert the state's interest in court if the attorney general and governor decline to defend an initiative.
States have a unique legal power to assert their interest in our judicial system. If the ballot proponents do not have the right to assert this interest, what happens to the states' interest if the attorney general declines to assert it? Does it just evaporate?
Ted Olson, supposed super-lawyer, said effectively, yes.
Courts should be deprived of good arguments about the state's interest if the state attorney general decides not to defend a law.
To their credit the justices of the California Supreme Court appeared dubious.
As Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye put it to Ted Olson:
"If we were to agree with you that the state AG [attorney general] refuses to defend a particular initiative then it is simply too bad for the people, if it winds out without the mounting of a vigorous defense, isn't that unfair to the court? Who is there to defend the intuitive measure? Perhaps you can answer that?"
No, Ted really could not!
Meanwhile Protect Marriage's lawyer Chuck Cooper, told the court "The majority of the electorate that enacts an initiative are effectively the people, and the people are the state. . . The attorney general doesn't have the power she claims and respondents claim on her behalf not only to refuse to represent the state's interest, but the authority to see to it that that interest will not be represented by anyone."
Chuck Cooper rocks and Ted Olson was looking pretty silly by the end!
As the other key group that got Proposition 8 on the ballot, NOM California stands with Protect Marriage: they have the standing to defend a ballot initiative when the attorney general fails to do so.
Good news this week out of California! We will see what the California Supreme Court ultimately rules, but it was a good day in court, a day to celebrate.
Meanwhile, in New York there were some other interesting and encouraging developments:
In a NY-9 special election on September 13th to fill the seat vacated by Anthony Weiner, a new poll shows Republican Bob Turner ahead!
Polls for special elections are notoriously difficult because it is difficult to predict turnout accurately.
But here's what nobody can dispute: David Weprin's vote for gay marriage in the state assembly is making his election more difficult. Core Democratic constituencies—blacks, Hispanics, and Orthodox Jews—are having trouble swallowing his idea that gay marriage is a civil right.
The press is reporting—and it's true—that NOM has just entered this race with a $75,000 independent expenditure.
I have to pause to thank each and every one of you who donates to NOM.
We have funds available to enter races like this because you trust and support our judgment on where and how to make a difference. Thank you!
I also want to put in a good word for NOM's activities in New York at the state level.
Take a look at this billboard and story directed against one pro-SSM Republican, Roy McDonald:
Betray your constituents and they may say: "You're Fired!"
That's a message we will send between now and 2012 in New York and nationally.
At the national level, let me call your attention to the APP Palmetto Freedom Forum.
NOM's founding chairman Prof. Robby George got the chance to ask questions on life and marriage to the leading contenders (except Perry, who had to go to Texas to fight the wildfires).
Something extraordinary happened as a result.
All of the leading contenders are committed to appointing a pro-life, pro-marriage vice president.
Wow, that's big news, the mainstream media declined to cover!
And for the first time the attacks and harassment of traditional marriage supporters received national attention.
Major presidential candidates committed to federal protection for Christian and other religious adoption and foster care agencies! See excerpts here.
That's what we offer at NOM: all the really big news the mainstream media declines to cover.
Thank you for allowing us to offer the truth in love to the American people.
I treasure my relationship with you. I treasure your prayers, your emails, your letters of support—and of course your financial contribution where possible.
Together we will change history. Thank you
God bless you.
Brian S. Brown
National Organization for Marriage
P.S. Support for programs across this country from You're Fired! to the NY-9 campaign, to supporting Propositon 8, to protecting DOMA does not come cheap. We need your help to protect God's truth about marriage wherever and whenever we can make a difference. Can you pledge $10 today for marriage?
If God has given you the means, can you pledge $100 or $500 to support marriage? I promise you to be a careful and wise steward of the sacrifices you make. Together we can change history!