Joe Bonino, proud supporter of Prop H8 bigotry
“While same-sex couples can enter into domestic partnerships, “in California, marriage is defined as between a man and a woman,” Bonino said. He said that was decided with the Republican-supported ballot initiative Proposition 22 in 2000. Bonino said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, whose staff has performed thousands of gay marriages in the last 10 days, is “just grandstanding.” Bonino said he favors a constitutional amendment to prevent further ongoing legal debates and costs.”
(complete article after the break)
Bush proposal sparks local dialogue
Sara Watson Arthurs The Times-Standard
From the “propaganda of fear” to a way to “expedite the whole debate,” many Humboldt County residents have strong views to share on the recent developments in the gay marriage debate. Margot Gallant of the Humboldt County Gay and Lesbian Alliance had come to the Downtown Express coffee shop to discuss upcoming gay pride events with coffee shop owner Karen Phillips on Tuesday — the morning President George Bush announced he planned to seek a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages.
“How can someone legislate and make me illegal?” Gallant asked.
Phillips said Bush’s announcement stems from an ongoing prejudice she called “the propaganda of fear.”
“I went through my angst at being gay,” Phillips said. “I’m over it, and they can get over it too.”
Locally, she said, most people have. Her business, near the Humboldt County Courthouse, attracts a diverse clientele from bankers to attorneys to trial defendants — nearly all of whom treat her with respect, she said.
Joe Bonino, vice chairman of the Humboldt County Republican Party, said he supports Bush’s proposed amendment.
While same-sex couples can enter into domestic partnerships, “in California, marriage is defined as between a man and a woman,” Bonino said. He said that was decided with the Republican-supported ballot initiative Proposition 22 in 2000. Bonino said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, whose staff has performed thousands of gay marriages in the last 10 days, is “just grandstanding.” Bonino said he favors a constitutional amendment to prevent further ongoing legal debates and costs.
“I think it’s a good idea to expedite the whole debate,” Bonino said.
The Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee’s position on gay and lesbian relationships is to “affirm their right to equal legal recognition of their committed relationships” and their right to become adoptive parents, said committee chairman Brian Mau. The party opposes constitutional amendments that would abridge such rights, but its platform does not have language relating specifically to gay marriage, he said.
In recent years some local gay activists have staged a protest by coming into the county clerk/recorder’s office each Valentine’s Day and trying to apply for a marriage license.
“I believe we had as many as 60 couples in line at one time,” said Clerk/Recorder Carolyn Crnich.
When the same-sex couples asked to apply for marriage licenses, she said, her staff responded that they could not do so under California law but were welcome to pick up domestic partnership applications. The protest did not take place this year.
Humboldt County residents Eric Rofes and Crispin Hollings were among the first couples to get married at San Francisco City Hall on Valentine’s Day. They’ll travel to Boise this weekend for their honeymoon.
Rofes, assistant professor of education at Humboldt State University, said the wedding was intended as an act of civil disobedience. The couple has been together for 15 years and had a commitment ceremony more than a decade ago.
“The spirit was upbeat and renegade and loving and exciting,” Rofes said. “Cars were going by tooting their horns and people were bringing flowers and donuts and wedding cake.”
Rofes said he sees the gay marriage debate as part of a larger debate “about who gets to participate in the institutions of our democracy — is it just certain kinds of people or is it all people?”
HSU government and politics lecturer Cary Frazee, a lawyer whose background is in civil rights law, said the proposed amendment would deny gays and lesbians their civil rights.
“The purpose of the Constitution has always been to protect civil rights,” she said. “Never has it been amended to take rights away from a class of people.”
Frazee added that marriage has always been regulated by states rather than the federal government, and that Bush had previously stated his support of state’s rights.